“Francesco, your music is wonderful – always has been. Play what you love and saturate the world with it”
*** Chick Corea ***
Piano solo live concert originally recorded in March 2000. Improvisations based on original compositions and a tribute to the music of the greatest pianists-composers of our time: Chick Corea, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Michel Legrand, Thelonious Monk.
Recorded live at the Atherton Performing Arts Center, KHPR National Public Radio in Honolulu, Hawaii
Record Label: Crosara Creative
Mixed at Chick Corea’s Mad Hatter Studio
Recording Engineer: Bernie Kirsch
– Cantaloupe Island (5:14)
– Mirror Mirror (5:03)
– Passion (3:45)
– You Must Believe In Spring (4:38)
– Memories of Tomorrow (10:41)
– Hackensack (5:55)
– Colors (5:26)
– Together (6:57)
– Two Lonely People (9:11)
– Someday My Prince Will Come (4:26)
– What a Wonderful World (5:41)
The expression of art in music is represented by the notes played by the musician during a performance. These notes convey the deepest human feelings and are able to inspire, move, sadden, awaken, and even excite the listener. Nowhere is the manifestation of emotions so personal as in the notes created by the jazz musician. Jazz as an art form allows each performer to interpret what may be considered classic compositions – or standards – and synthesize them into a distinctively unique result. Through improvisation, the very notes that comprise the original melody and harmony of a song are re-interpreted, stretched, twisted, thrown upside down, and transform into something completely new and different. There is always interplay between the familiarity of a jazz standard and the surprise of the improvisation that follows.
As a jazz pianist, I am particularly fond of piano solo performances, and that is because as a soloist, I am able to retain complete artistic control of the notes that I play. I am no longer bound by musical conventions that are expected when performing as a group. I have the artistic license to completely reinvent a song if I so choose – modify the tempo in midstream, change keys, insert a completely different tune, even come to a complete stop. As a solo jazz performer, I am completely at the mercy of the muse and of my state of mind at that particular moment.
My dear friend, the great Von Freeman once told me “In music, only two things matter: timing and space”. With this album, I heeded his advice, and made the conscious choice to keep my notes sparse and elemental. When selecting the repertoire for this concert, I wanted to feature some original compositions, as well as pay a tribute to the music of the great jazz pianists/composers who have inspired my own approach to the art form. I chose tunes that appealed to me on a deep level, including some lesser known, but just as powerful material.
This live album is a tribute to the ultimate groove of Herbie Hancock, the exuberance of Chick Corea, the lyricism of Michel Legrand, the passion of Keith Jarrett, the unpredictability of Thelonious Monk, the introspection of Bill Evans. I hope you will enjoy listening to my notes as much as I enjoyed playing them.
September 21, 2008
ARTIST’S NOTES ON THE REPERTOIRE
In choosing the material for this piano solo concert, I wanted to pay tribute to the great jazz pianists whose compositions so deeply affected my own approach to sound and ideas.
Each song has a specific memory and a special meaning:
– Herbie Hancock’s “Canteloupe Island” is the quintessential statement in jazz funk; I just love that tune in any arrangement and rhythmic interpretation.
– I saw Chick Corea’s childlike waltz, “Mirror Mirror”, in a video recording of the Corea-Burton piano-vibes duets in Japan. The harmonic progressions were inspired by Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” – I instantly liked this tune. Much to my appreciation, Chick forwarded me the manuscript lead sheet with the original harmonic patterns.
– Michel Legrand’s “You Must Believe In Spring” presented a special challenge because I wanted to extract the bare essentials out of the complex melody and almost lose it entirely through improvisation in a minimalistic approach.
– Keith Jarrett’s fourth movement from the Koln Concert (“Memories of Tomorrow”) was my choice as a tribute to my all time favorite album recording that I still listen to with genuine reverence.
– “Hackensack” is a lesser known composition of Thelonious Monk, and I love the typical dissonances and broken rhythm. It gave me great pleasure to play its quirky bluesy pattern.
– Bill Evans’ harmonic haunting piece “Two Lonely People” is the most dramatic piece in the album, which I heard from an obscure French piano compilation and never found again anywhere else.
– “Someday My Prince Will Come” and “What a Wonderful World” break the pattern of the piano composer celebration, but they spontaneously occurred as encores and I had a lot of fun with their simplicity.