Washington 2019: Tula’s Jazz Club, Seattle

Francesco Crosara (piano), Osama Afifi (bass), Steven Bentley (drums)
Photo credits: Julia Crosara

Thursday, August 29, 2019
Tula’s Restaurant & Jazz Club
2214 2nd Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98121

“A pianist who originally hails from Italy, Crosara is well-versed in bop lore, and his delicate flow might indicate a debt to Bill Evans”   Down Beat Magazine    

Jazz pianist and composer Francesco Crosara will appear at Tula’s Jazz Club in Seattle on August 29th to present the music of FrancescoJAZZ. He will be joined by bassist Osama Afifi and drummer Steven Bentley. 

FrancescoJAZZ is the brand name of Francesco Crosara’s musical concepts.  It was featured in the series Jazz: The Second Century, sponsored by Earshot Jazz in July 2019. The vision of FrancescoJAZZ is to provide a source of joy, comfort, escape and healing through original jazz compositions, improvisation, and jazz standards revisited. The mission of FrancescoJAZZ is to guide the listeners into a musical journey that provokes a variety of emotions, and ultimately, has a positive impact on their lives.  Crosara’s original compositions are inspired by a blend of Jazz, Latin, World and Classical music, plus new arrangements of select jazz standards revisited.

Born in Milan, Italy, and residing in the Pacific Northwest since 2017, Francesco Crosara is a Jazz pianist, composer and educator who has played at festivals and venues across the USA, Japan, Canada, Mexico, France, Spain, and Italy. He has performed with Lionel Hampton, Freddie Hubbard, Roy Hargrove, Richie Cole, Bobby Shew, Ira Sullivan, Don Menza, John Heard, Gabe Baltazar, Mayuto Correa, Bruce Forman, Barbara Morrison, Earl Palmer, Mark Lewis, and more. 

Crosara has produced 6 jazz albums recorded internationally over the course of over two decades, featuring guest artists such as Von Freeman and Lilian Terry. His album “Colors” received 4 stars from Downbeat magazine.

Francesco’s mother, Lilian Terry, was one of Europe’s foremost jazz vocalists across four decades.  Also a TV/radio personality, and educator in Italy, she recorded with Dizzy Gillespie, and with Tommy Flanagan, and co-founded the Dizzy Gillespie Popular School of Music in Bassano, Italy.  Lilian’s memoirs, “Dizzy, Duke, Brother Ray, and Friends”, (2017-University of Illinois Press) received a highly positive review from Downbeat magazine and others.

A master of jazz improvisation, Francesco’s piano style mixes a strong romantic vein from his classical training at the Music Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in Rome with bouncy lyrical expression in the jazz and Latin idioms.  He feels equally at ease as a solo pianist and sharing the stage with fellow musicians on both acoustic and electric keyboards.  His favorite format is the jazz piano trio for the intimacy that it creates, and the subtle interplay with bass and drums. 

Osama Afifi has been a professional Bassist since the early 1980’s. He has recorded and  performed live with many artists including John Densmore, Kurt Elling,The Cadillacs, Eric Reed,The 5th Dimension, Yanni, Jeff Lorber, Vanessa Paradis, Mindi Abair, Jeff Kashiwa, Billy Preston, Nenna Freelon, The B Sharp Jazz Quartet and has even appeared on VH1’s show “Storytellers” with The Doors. 

Since moving to the Pacific Northwest from Los Angeles he has worked with LaVon Hardison, The Tacoma Symphony, Darelle Holden, Jacqueline Tabor, Judy Collins, Kareem Kandi, Darren Motamedy, David Keys, Hook Me Up, Gail Pettis, Michael Powers, Wally and the Beaves, Michael Benson and many others. His education includes studies at the Dick Grove School of Music. He also studied with Jeff Berlin and Gary Willis.

Steven Bentley has been on the music scene in the Pacific Nortwest for nearly thirty years. A true professional drummer/composer, he has worked steadily in many different styles, from club dates to major shows and countless private functions.  He has the reputation for always providing the right sound for a given situation, by listening and blending with a solid groove.

Over the years, Steven has performed nationally and internationally, traveling to Cuba and as far away as Japan. He has been involved with countless recordings and performances with artists such as Jessica Williams, Larry Coryell, Charmaine Neville, Pete Christleib, Bill Ramsey, Pablo Menendez, Rob Scheps, Essiet Essiet, Norbert Stachel, John Stowell, Jeff Johnson, Bert Wilson, Greta Matassa, Jay Thomas, Tracy Knoop, Gail Pettis, Kareem Kandi, Joe Baque, Dennis Hastings, and Oberador.

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