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.
Beautiful work from Franco Cerri — a really unique guitar jazz session that features his talents in a host of different settings ! The players vary throughout the set — so that one number only features a duo with bass, but others feature larger lineups that include Gianni Basso on tenor, Dino Piana on trombone, Oscar Valdambrini on trumpet, Renato Sellani on piano, and Giancarlo Barigozzi on flute – all key Italian players of the 60s who really get room to sparkle on the record! Cerri's tone runs from smoothly jazzy on the group numbers to a bit more raw and personal on some of the more stripped-down ones – and titles include "Chit Car", "Blues For Jo", "Bassezza", "New Nova", "Stardust", and "Blues Dei Framasteni".
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)