A gem of a session from Italian guitarist Franco Cerri — recording here at the end of the 50s with a well-titled batch of European jazz stars ! The groups shift slightly throughout the set, and players include Lars Gullin on baritone sax, Flavio Ambrosetti on alto, George Gruntz on piano, and Pierre Favre on drums ! The album features one trio track, three quartet numbers, three quintet tunes, and one sextet cut — all of them with Cerri's illuminating single-line work on guitar — sounding especially nice next to the horns. Ambrosetti is a real treat here — a sharp-edged player we'd never heard before, working with a strong undercurrent of soul that we really appreciate.
Lisa Lynne Franco has recorded some brilliant material under five different guises. Her earliest work was as Lisa Franco. She recorded three CDs for the German Innovative Communications label. Romantic Dreams might be her best CD. The entire album speaks greatness with every note. Peter Seiler produced the CD and co-wrote four of the nine original pieces. He wrote one of the two bonus tracks. He also accompanies Franco's harp with his keyboards. This CD represents his best work, too. His gentle atmospheres surround her aggressive style like billowing clouds and fluffy pillows. The beauty of the atmospheres is breathtaking. There are no appropriate comparisons for this masterwork. It stands alone - a true sign of greatness.
It is a satisfying musical experience when a performance can deliver traditional jazz without the music being reduced to orthodoxy. Such is the resonance of Franco D'Andrea's sound. The seventy-something Italian pianist follows Soprais (El Gallo Rojo, 2011), with his long-established quartet, by adding the early jazz instruments of clarinet and trombone, played respectively by Daniele D'Argaro and Mauro Ottolini. On the live Traditions And Clusters he also invites his contemporary , drummer Han Bennink, to sit in on two tracks.
On 'Monk and the Time Machine', the sextet led by Italian pianist Franco D'Andrea presents an album dedicated to Thelonious Monk. It contains many interpretations of his songs (including "Light Blue", "Bright Mississippi", "Locomotive", "Blue Monk", "Brake's Sake", "Coming on the Hudson", "Epistrophy" and "Monk's Mood") and some original compositions by the group. D'Andrea is one Italy's leading jazz musicians and has recorded a large number of albums (around 200). He has worked with an array of jazz stars, including Gato Barbieri, Steve Lacy, Dave Liebman, John Surman, Kenny Wheeler, Phil Woods, Slide Hampton, Max Roach, Johnny Griffin, Han Bennink and Dave Douglas.
From his first recordings in 1953 to his death in 1989, Franco Luambo (to use one of the many possible extensions of his name) dominated the music of sub-Saharan Africa in a way that is difficult to over-estimate. And the fact that he is still comparatively unknown in the world of ‘world music’ is a travesty of justice that these 2CDs, with their rare photos, thoroughly reasearched and eloquent notes, sets out to redress.
The legendary concert tribute to Franco Battiato by Gates of Memory, Which Has Been Held at the Teatro Dante in Castellanza on November 26th 2010, is finally released on CD and DVD. The group features musicians of the early historical works of Franco Battiato: Gianfranco D'Adda and Mario Dalla Stella, as well as newcomers such as Paul "Ske" Botta (Yugen, Not a good sign), Mauro Galbersanini, Roberta Pagani and Carlo Cilibrasi…
Countertenor performances of 19th century opera are a historical and, ultimately, true novelty. This said, for those who love the sound of the countertenor voice and want to give it a try, there are several factors that recommend this release by countertenor Franco Fagioli, with the small orchestra Armonia Atenea under George Petrou. First is that castrati were still around in Rossini's time, although on the decline, and the composer was reportedly intrigued by their voices. Second, Fagioli, unlike the vast majority of other countertenors, studied bel canto singing rather than Baroque repertory exclusively, and a certain distance present in the work of other countertenors is absent here. And third, and most important, is Fagioli's voice itself. Of the countertenors active today, he's the one with the range, the power, the attitude to make you suspend disbelief and think for a moment that you're actually listening to a castrato. He enters into the various Rossini roles represented on this recording, several of which were mezzo-soprano "pants" roles; this adds to the layers of identity-switching happening, and the parts hit Fagioli's vocal sweet spot. A bonus is that several of these are from Rossini opere serie that are little played or recorded.
Gluck composed “Ezio” only one year after the success of “Orfeo”. It was premiered in 1763 at the Burgtheatre in Vienna. Although not as successful as “Orfeo” it contains many fine moments and this recording, in which Michael Hofstetter conducts a first rate cast, should introduce more opera listeners to this fine work. “….the representation of his (Gluck’s) early and middle years is patchy. All the more fitting then, to be able to welcome a thoroughly satisfactory issue of Ezio….. It is greatly to the credit of countertenor Franco Fagioli, who sings the part (Ezio, sung by the famous castrato Guadagni in the première) in this recording, that there is no sense of anticlimax: he produces firm, expressive singing, with delicacy where appropriate.” (International Record Review)
New love, position, power, revenge, disguise, mistaken identity, complications and passionate devotion – the full spectrum of baroque opera seria is here in this new recording of Pergolesi’s ‘Adriano In Siria’. Franco Fagioli leads the cast, alongside Romina Basso, Yuriy Mynenko, Dilyara Idrisova, Juan Sancho and Cigdem Soyarslan, accompanied by the exuberant Polish orchestra Capella Cracoviensis under the baton of Jan Tomasz Adamus. Famed for his Stabat Mater, Pergolesi died aged just 26 but had already completed four opera seria; ‘Adriano in Siria’ is the third of these and has a libretto by Metastasio.