Archive for the ‘ Folk ’ Category

Fuccelli Fisarmony Orchestra – Linaura

linauraThis CD comes from Italy by the Fuccelli Fisarmony Orchestra, which dates from last year. This symphonic orchestra consists of about 18 musicians, conducted by Roberto Fuccelli.

Several accordionists (I count about eight) are part of this band, and this unique group is famous in Italy for its innovative compositions.

‘Inner Gravity’ introduces this disc, a swinging song with a trombone solo by Fabrizio Bosso. The theme from the movie ‘Pirates of the Carribean’ or ‘Pirati dei Caraibi’ follows, after which we stay in the film world with the theme from ‘Once Upon a Time in America’ by Ennio Morricone, or ‘C’era una volta in America’.

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Sara Jane – Non Siamo Tutti Eroi

nonsiamotuttieroiRecently the second album of the Italian singer-songwriter Sara Jane from Livorno was released on the Alfa Music label. Its translation is: “We Are Not All Heroes”.

Sara is assisted by only female artists, which are: Vanessa Cremaschi (violins and viola), Giovanna Famulari (cello), Ornella D’Urbano (piano), Elisabetta Rossi (harp), Marcella Carboni (harp), Samantha Binotti (vibraphone) , Veronica Perego (double bass), Laura Klain (drums), Laura Rocchegiani (saxophones), Valeria Sturba (Theremin), Laura Avanzolini (voice), Barbara Piperno (voice) and Lorena Chiarelli (voice).

Sara Jane said of this project: “My writing has focused on the string quartet, as a continuum of my expressive medium, in accompaniment of my voice, alone and combined with various harmonic instruments such as piano, harp, vibraphone, but also choir and rhythm.

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Chieli Minucci – Someone’s Singing

Someones-Singing-Cover-600-1My personal Chieli Minucci collection started with his albums Jewels (1995), Renaissance (1996), and It’s Gonna Be Good (1998), continued with Sweet On You (2000), Night Grooves (2003), and Got It Goin’ On (2005). In addition, there were numerous Special EFX albums to collect.

I did not follow his New Age period. I was all the more pleased about his new release Someone’s Singing (2022). This album is not a throwback to Chieli’s earlier creative days, but something new in his solo career. Above all, it is an album where the performance on the acoustic guitar is in the foreground.

Complementary support for Chieli has come from Jerry Brooks (bass on New Faith), George Jinda (percussion on Free Again), Steve Skinner (strings on Free Again) and Fernando Saunders (fretless bass on Your Spirit). Chieli performs on his album these guitars: Scharpach flattop 6-string, Sunbird semi-hollow nylon string electrix, Vienna Opus archtop, Orozco classical, Gibson 175T, 1984 Pensa-Suhr custom electric.

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Germano Mazzocchetti Ensemble – Muggianne

muggianneItalian composer Germano Mazzocchetti has the main focus of his activities in the field of cinema and theater. He is known for musical comedies, film music, operas, classical music and television pieces. However he lives out his connection to jazz music with the Germano Mazzocchetti Ensemble.

With this formation he has already released the albums Testasghemba (2009), Asap (2016) and Muggianne (2019). The ensemble consists of Germano Mazzocchetti (fisarmonica), Francesco Marini (soprano sax, clarinet, bass clarinet), Paolo Emanuele (viola), Marco Acquarelli (guitar), Luca Pirozzi (contrabass), and Valerio Vantaggio (drums).

It is probably an Italian peculiarity to wrap folkloric music with strong reference to the region and its culture with the mantle of jazz music. Liner notes writer Nicola Piovani, himself an established Oscar awarded Italian orchestral conductor, film and theater composer, cautiously describes it as a surprising album. The obvious folkloric reference is already evident from the traditional instrumentation.

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Paolo Rozzi | Primiano Di Biase – Bon Voyage

Hailing from Rome Paolo Rozzi has already concentrated on the accordion at a young age. He graduated in accordion under the guidance of Maestro Sergio Scappini at the G. Rossini Conservatory in Pesaro. Since this time he is successfully working as music teacher and director of Viva Musica.

Rome resident Primiano Di Biase (piano and Rhodes) works as teacher at the same music school like Paolo, Viva Musica. In 2001 he received the low school diploma in singing and high school diploma in piano with jazz specialization at the University of Music in Rome.

Both musicians are active since several years in the Italian jazz scene. Together they created the album Bon Voyage in 2019. Paolo and Primiano have written all tracks in team work. They were supported by some Italian musicians listed in the credits.

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Robert Christa – Smooth World

German pianist and composer Robert Christa is a musician you really should have on the radar. Since his debut Nightflight To Rio (2015) and his sophomore project City Lights in 2017 he has come out as an insider tip in the smooth jazz genre. This impression is convincingly confirmed by his third album Smooth World (2019).

Robert Christa performs on his new album keys, backing vocals and programming. He is joined on selected tracks by Robert Friedl (sax), Tom Reif (guitar), Bernd Hemminger (bass), Josiah Ruff, Stephanie Forryan, Mel Kamper (vocals), Mattias Hase (acoustic guitar), Llioba Bruns (cello), Natascha Weber, Lyn Conary, Daniana (backing vocals).

The album opens with Rise & Shine which reveals Christa’s penchant for perfect construction with a great opening. Saxophonist Robert Friedl and guitarist Tom Reif get plenty of opportunity to bring their own ideas to the play.

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Kalen Henry – Not Forgotten

Vocalist Kalen Henry, the daughter of the well-known bassist Trey Henry, has a direct access to music and came early into contact with songs of Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Imagine Dragons, Macklemore, and Adele.

Through her father she was able to realize her first project without any problems, an album with songs by Nat King Cole, which have been part of the American Songbook for a long time. In addition to her father, she is supported by Andrew Synowiec (guitar), Paul Viapiano (mandolin, guitar), David Witham (Rhodes), and Ray Brinker (drums, percussion).

The compilation of the songs is well thought-out and follows the principle of a love story. Straighten up and Fly Right was written by Nat King Cole and Irving Mills in 1943. The song is about a monkey being picked up by a buzzard and starting a funny dialogue with it. Kalen Henry connects the song with her own vocal personality and embeds it in a demanding instrumental context.

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Andrew Van Tassel – It’s Where You Are

Traditional and contemporary jazz form the base from which saxophonist and composer Andrew Van Tassel builds his sound. He also leans on classical, indie-rock and folk music. Listeners hear more of the contemporary side on It’s Where You Are (Tone Rogue Records, 2016).

Van Tassel plays alto and soprano saxophones. He is accompanied by Julian Shore, piano and Rhodes; Edward Perez, bass; and Colin Stranahan, drums. Special guests on selected tracks are guitarist Ben Eunson and Michael Thomas, who plays clarinet and bass clarinet.

The set begins with “High Holborn,” an upbeat, electric tune with guitar and alto sax melding for the lead. Bass and drum kit carry a trotting beat, while the piano offers placid fills. Van Tassel then stretches out, taking off on a free-spirited jaunt. Eunson then comes in, deftly picking those strings in a series of single-note riffs, some of them in complex, rapid-fire strings. The mood and pace slow when Van Tassel rejoins. The alto leads while the guitar offers some haunting, ethereal fills as the song comes to a close.

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Rebecka Larsdotter – Whirlwind

It’s a marriage of light jazz and Scandinavian folk music. Swedish-born singer-songwriter Rebecka Larsdotter weaves the forms together with Whirlwind (Losen Records, 2016).

Larsdotter mixes and matches her accompanists, depending on the needs of the songs. The musicians are Aaron Parks, piano; Dayna Stephens, saxophone, arranger; Ben Street, bass; Nate Wood, drums; Shai Maestro, piano; Rick Rosato, bass; Ari Hoenig, drums; Oz Noy, guitar; Dennis Hamm, keyboard; Hadrien Feraud, bass; Gene Coy, drums.

“Kvar,” a Larsdotter original, is a tranquil piece written in her native tongue. The title translates to “left” in English. It reflects her concept of the language being left behind and its parallel to being in a relationship where the person doesn’t know where she stands. Bass and piano solos assist.

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Matt Marshak – New York

In the world of music artistry guitarist Matt Marshak has a secure and well deserved place. His life circle and sphere of activity is New York. A good reason to call his new album New York (2016).

Matt recorded the album in one day at Secret Studios in Baltimore supported by Sean Michael Ray (bass), Benjie Porecki (keys), Carl Anderson (drums), and Ronnie Queen (vocals on Real Music).

Most important was for Matt a human and natural sound with no drum programming and loops. He has implemented this concept on his album in all its consequences.

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