Friday, January 27, 2023

Rosario Giuliani - Sassofonista Straordinario [alto saxophonist extraordinaire] [From the Archives]

 © -  Steven A. Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

“The musicianship of Rosario Giuliani is exhilarating.  His total package of performance, composition and improvisation is not so much a breath of fresh air as it is a gale force wind blowing across a landscape littered with Charlie Parker and John Coltrane disciples.  He has a confident, masculine tone that is at once assertive and tender, betraying bit of Julian Adderley and Eric Dolphy.”
- C. Michael Bailey, All About Jazz, Review of Mr. Dodo, Dreyfus Jazz CD [FDM 36636-2]

“The overwhelming immediacy, passion and extraordinary swing in enriched by the surprising maturity with which Rosario handles the most difficult and compelling repertoire.”
- Paolo Piangiarelli, owner-operator, Philology records

“The discovery of Rosario Giuliani by a large audience is a blessing. At 34, this sax player is one of Italy's hidden treasures and his reputation keeps growing there. Swift, lyrical and inspired, endowed with an alto and soprano sound of blazing intensity, that owes as much to Cannonball Adderley or Jackie McLean as it does to Puccini, Giuliani presently shows a bold maturity. As both a sideman and a leader, he has, until now, mostly graced the stages and studios of his native peninsula, astonishing both European and American musicians who crossed his path. For six years now, the Rosario Giuliani quartet has been the laboratory for a personal, genuine, and invigorating vision of the Parker and Coltrane legacy - a crucible of creative and generous musicianship. Following a couple of recordings on small labels, this is his first album on the international scene. With it, the Rome-based reedman is likely to set the record straight, ruffle some feathers in the process, and provide many listeners with the whiff of fresh air they've been waiting for. At last!”
- Thierry Quenum, Rosario Giuliani Quartet: LUGGAGE [Dreyfus Jazz FDM 36618-2]

“I met Rosario Giuliani some years ago (he happened to be part of an orchestra in one of my recording sessions); after hearing him playing I nicknamed him "thousand-notes boy". I realised I had met a young sax virtuoso, perfectly mastering a refined and unexceptionable technique: an authentic improvisator. 

And you know, improvisation is the real essence of jazz. Capable of such personal interpretations (he seems to "live" each theme note by note, interval after interval) whose rigour and coherence I'm pleased to define almost classical, in this CD Rosario succeeds in giving the impression of a live stage, thus shortening distances between players and listeners and, therefore, heating the cold atmosphere usually pervading recording rooms. He has got sufficient charisma to become the catalyst agent of the group, gathering four extraordinary players: Pietro Lussu on piano and keyboards, Fabrizio Bosso on trumpet, Joseph Lepore on double-bass, and Lorenzo Tucci on drums.

Everything is plunged in a magic perception of time, non technical, where notes fly around the executed themes while different signals and sensations follow one another as if they were waving. Giuliani performs such long solos neither schematic nor repetitive. He has got a boundless fantasy and expresses himself playing notes which amplify the basic chords. His music is direct, harsh, delicate, introspective; his phrasing produces somewhere "note storms" His style is an exhausting outline of Parker's, Coltrane's and sometimes Ornette Coleman's musical experiences, filtered by his personal "search for freedom". The result is an harmonically rich music, absolutely charming with its evolved melodies and swing.”
- Gianni Ferrio, Tension [Schema Records SCCD 309]

Italy is the home of clothes that people around the world love to wear; cars they love to drive and an appetizing cuisine that is universally popular.

It is also the home of a number of first rate Jazz alto saxophonists
dating back to the late Massimo Urbani [1957-1993], after whom Italy’s most prestigious Jazz award is named, including Gianluigi Trovesi, Paolo Recchia, Francisco Cafiso, Stefano Di Battista and Rosario Giuliani.

Indeed, if you like your alto playing searing, sensual and sonorous, welcome to the world of Rosario Giuliani. His is an alto tone that is big, biting and burning – all at the same time; it is a sound that totally envelopes the listener.

In addition to Adderley and Dolphy [and perhaps even some ‘early years’ Art Pepper], Giuliani also incorporates a style that is reminiscent of Chris Potter before he moved on to “the big horn,” especially the Potter of Presenting Chris Potter on Criss Cross [CD 1067].

Other alto saxophone contemporaries such as Jesse Davis, Kenny Garrett, Jon Gordon, Vincent Herring, and Jim Snidero, and are also reflected in Giuliani’s style, and yet, despite these acknowledgements, he is very much his own man.

Whether it’s running the changes on finger-poppin’ bop tunes, improvising on modal scales and odd time signatures or finding his way movingly and expressively through ballads, Giuliani enveloping sound is a force and a presence. He has a technical command of the instrument that lets him go wherever he wants to on the horn including employing the dash difficult Paul Desmond device of improvising duets with himself.

Giuliani’s recordings will also provide an opportunity to hear some wonderful rhythm section players frequenting today’s Italian Jazz scene such as pianists Dado Moroni, Pietro Lussu, and Franco D’Andrea; bassists Gianluca Renzi, Jospeh Lepore, Pietro Ciancaglini, Dario Deidda, and Rimi Vignolo; drummers, Lorenzo Tucci, Benjamin Henocq [Swiss/Italian], Massimo Manzi and Marcello Di Leonardo. All of these guys are virtuoso players who can really bring it.

Rosario’s music is a reflection of a young player finding his way through the modern Jazz tradition with straight-ahead, bop-oriented tunes such as Wes Montgomery’s Road Song, re-workings of Ornette Coleman’s The Blessing and Invisible and, as is to be expected from today’s young, reed players, Coltranesque extended adventures such as the original Suite et Poursuite, I, II, III.

Interestingly his tribute to Coltrane album is done as a Duets for Trane in which he an pianist Franco D’Andrea perform on nine Coltrane originals such as Equinox, Central Park West and Like Sonny. There is very little “sheets of sound” to be found anywhere on this recording, but rather, an introspective and original examination of Coltrane’s music by someone whose playing would have made him smile.

Rosario has a lovely way with ballads as can be heard in his sensitive and thoughtful interpretations of Tadd Dameron’s On a Misty Night, Bob Haggart’s What’s New and Michele Petrucciani’s lovely Home.  

Many other slow tunes are given a prominent place on his recordings.  He even put out an early recording devoted entirely to standards such as Skylark, What is This Thing Called Love and Invitation that are interspersed with an original, four-part blues odyssey entitled Blues Connotation. It is his way of showing his conservancy with these musical forms and to pay homage to these strains within the Jazz tradition.

Giuliani is in demand by movie composers such as Morricone, Umilani, and Ortolani and has a CD out entitled Tension that features his interpretation of Jazz themes from Italian movies.

Many of his CD’s are still available via online and retail sellers and collectively represent staggering body of high quality playing. Rosario Giuliani is a player of distinction who makes Jazz, in all its modern manifestations, an exciting adventure.

I recommend him to you without reservation as someone who will reward you many times over should you chose to include him and his associates in your musical vocabulary.

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