Many jazz cats would surely remember of Francesco Cafiso, the young sax player that has been taken under Wynton Marsalis’ patronage: under this teenaged jazz player’s artistic direction, the 1st edition of the "Vittoria Jazz Festival - Music & Cerasuolo Wine" was held in Vittoria, a small center of Ragusa area, in Sicily, from May 31st to June 22nd.
Italian All Stars Saturday 31 May 2008
The kicking-off concert featured Italian All Stars Andrea Pozza (piano), Rosario Bonaccorso (double-bass), Roberto Gatto (drums) and Gianluca Petrella (trombone) led by trumpet player Flavio Boltro: and in the area before the former Centrale Elettrica (Electric Power Plant) now a museum which, during the festival, hosted famous illustrator Guido Crepax’ plates of a story concerning jazz music, and the works of a sculptor known all over the world and just born in Vittoria, Arturo Di Modica, author of the famous Charging Bull, that’s the symbol of Wall Street the musical chemistry provided for a fresh and powerful combination. A large and attentive audience gathered, ready to mark with clapping each musicians: Boltro’s trumpet in There Is No Greater Love, Gatto’s sculptured brushing, Bonaccorso’s tidy soloing. The intervention of Petrella’s trombone is enthralling, sprightly Pozza’s in Boltro’s Side Winter, crackling at his turn, whereas his First Smile is more delicate, with a surprising ending from Gatto, who goes on to flow into Song for Flavia, a composition Bonaccorso wrote for his daughter. In Sentimental (Count Basie), the sound inventions and evolutions of the trombone are incredible, and, after another tune from Boltro, the group plays Idea, where Petrella duets with Gatto, and the show closes with two Monk’s pieces, Evidence, expounded by the double-bass, and Rhythm-A-Ning, with outstanding phrasing between Boltro and Petrella, and finally all the others: the end worthy the two hours of a burning music.
High Five Saturday 7 June 2008
High Five brought its involving music to the festival, attracting the audience’s attention albeit a humid and boaring wind breeze. With the line-up that recently reinvigorated its musical mark Fabrizio Bosso (trumpet and flugelhorn), Daniele Scannapieco (tenor sax), Pietro Ciancaglini (double-bass), Lorenzo Tucci (drums), definitively accomplished with Luca Mannutza (piano) the band presents a preview of some of the tunes listed on the new album, F-F-F (Five For Fun), just released on Blue Note. Cedar Walton’s standard Ojos de Rojo opens, with the unison of the two wind-instruments on a rumba time: this is a number charged with energy, emphasized in the ending turn-around. The slower Così Come Sei (Mannutza) follows, 5/4 with a crepuscular melody and a rhapsodic progression. Ciancaglini starts out Nino’s Flowers, a composition from Scannapieco with a Coltrane-style impetuosity and good fittings in combination with Tucci, who provides for a rhythmic conduction with unlimited creativity and a long genial break without snares: the most engaging tune of the show. Slower is Estudio Misterioso, graceful incipit from Mannutza, and Bosso who blows his persuasive flugelhorn, yet without loosing his usual agile burst; Ciancaglini’s solo contribution is vibrating and with beautiful blue notes. The session unit is proved very close in On the Way Home, the piano with a fluent phrasing and the drums escorting Scannapieco’s solo, well performed though his slight indisposition. The flugelhorn is bright in slow and dense Naty (Ciancaglini), and then F-F-F concludes: a hardbop very driven that made Bosso’s mute esteemed, firstly whispered then glittering in polychromy, as well as the elasticity of Mannutza and the rhythm session. In order to relief the wind, the night was heat up by the free wine tasting of renowned Cerasuolo di Vittoria docg, offered by the Consorzio di Tutela.
Cattano Bros Sunday, 8 June 2008
To enliven the forth evening of the program was Cattano Bros Quartet: on stage were Alberto Amato (double-bass), Antonio Moncada (drums) and the Cattano brothers, multi-instrumentalist Carlo and young trombone player Tony. A band without harmonic instrument that already announces consequences worth of great interest and attention, for a concert distinguished by multi-themed compositions, which implied richness of expression and musical languages, and confirmed Tony Cattano such a musician particularly active on the sound and timbre research. The set enclosed all originals, a summa of the jazz language from its origins to the modern avant-garde implications: Carlo Cattano’s baritone sax is vigorous in Monk, a blues dangling on the full-bodied and black Amato’s walking, backed up by the coloured plungers of the trombone. The two winds’ chiaroscuro are brilliant in Black Smith, with Tony’s fun solo that anticipates the whooping moment of free, very appreciated by the audience: rhythmic reed clucks from the baritone with remarkable technique improvised music that would seem born in the Chicago suburbs but on the contrary it is from Sicily DOC and Moncada’s excellent solo. Besides the great variety of lines, also times frequently vary, as in The Zipp Mode, with pressing pulse provided by both drums and double-bass, which distinguishes itself for a precious accompanying with harmonics; or as in Focus, where the flute and the trombone seem to play the roles of an elephant and a butterfly. After a slant intro, Bartolo (composed by Tony Cattano) is a catchy tune with a very amusing dixie mood, an ironic hint that lies in the solos of the two brothers, in the light sticks of the drummer and in the ending quotation of Mingus’ Better Git It In Your Soul. MEM is a slow blues by Moncada, with improvisation of the soprano sax and Tony’s blown wha-wha in a wide range of colourful expressions. An ancestral beauty features Anassor, composed by Carlo for his wife, where, in unison with the voice, his flute echoes Africa upon the bass lines and the felted mallets of the drums. Drummer and bass player introduce What Is It About?, with vibrating "vocalisms" on the skin of the snare drum and a soft hand-drumming. A concert of very particular jazz, so gripping, that reveals the art direction’s sensitiveness and courage to risk with a music that is not always enjoyable immediately.
Giovanni Mazzarino Trio Saturday 21 June 2008
With the last Saturday concert, featuring Giovanni Mazzarino Trio Nello Toscano on double-bass and Paolo Mappa on drums , the venue became a club, with the suffused and smoky sound of jazz: not accidentally the notes of the first piece play No Smoking, from the CD Nostalgia, just to heat up. Drenched in Latin warmth and taste is Rumba & Tango, fascinating and swinging, with Mappa who suggests imaginative cadences, and then the fast tempo Around (for Bill Evans), built up on the walking bass, where Messina pianist offers his extended and articulated phrasings, followed by a drum break rich in press rolls and in sounding and silvery cymbals. Then Nostalgia, a very large-timed ballad of which the delicate harmonic progressions could be better caught in a smaller ambiance but which, anyway, attracts audience’s attention, with the poetry of its theme. Toscano also features a pervading solo in Steve Swallow’s Wrong Together. The power of Gillespie’s Woodin’ You shakes, the interplay of the piano trio also shines on the faster time, and then Calà, which closes along the same feelings. The concert benefits from an unexpected appendix where two of the winners of the Vittoria Rotary Jazz Award also performed, sax player Luigi Di Nunzio and singer Marta Capponi, first and second classified respectively, escorted by Giovanni Mazzarino Trio: self-assured vocalist animates the ending with Bye Bye Blackbird and her involving stage-behavior, while sixteen elitist shows off his fluent solo ride in Softly and an enthralling duet with drums, enhancing his great timing.
Francesco Cafiso Italian Quartet Sunday 22 June 2008
The last night of the festival had Francesco Cafiso as its protagonist, now as a musician, for the debut of his new quartet with Dino Rubino (piano), Stefano Bagnoli (drums) and Riccardo Fioravanti (double-bass). Cafiso starts with Happy Time, a tune with a variegated rhythm, which showcases the good interplay of his new band: a bop soul dressed with changing humours, under the attentive guidance and the burst hints of Vittoria jazz player. Medieval harmonies dropped into a free context for King Arthur, tracing different rhythm structures and trusting to the very reliable Bagnoli and Fioravanti. Rubino releases a generous solo, the bass player does a nice one by drumming his thumb on the strings, pretty like an electric bass but with a superb and rounded acoustic sound. His last rhythm figuration is reprised by Bagnoli’s sticks on the terse snare. She Loves You, a heartfelt ballad, slow and vibrant with a three-movements time, then one of Cafiso’s warhorses, his "soft jazz" version of Lucio Dalla’s song Caruso, which makes the square fall silent. The show closes with Polka Dots and Moon Beams, very refined ballad, and a gushing Sonny Rollins’ Airegin, with the engaging duo sax-drums, the piano counterpointed by the double-bass and Bagnoli’s tinkling cymbals, for last sounding percussive interlude.
Therefore, a successful first edition, musically to be complete, the festival also hosted Dado Moroni Trio (14th June) and Francesco Buzzurro Quartet (15th June) as well as for the large following of the audiences, come by from the neighboring places: a good result which has already made the organizers, the Municipality of Vittoria first, make date with the 2nd edition, next year.