From a lifetime of music creation, Seattle-based Italian pianist and composer Francesco Crosara selected 10 of his compositions from the last 40 years with the idea of highlighting the nexus between early work, with its simplicity and youthful appeal, to later works where he expressed richer harmonic textures and possibilities. Always close by are the influences from his early mentoring in Rome from Chick Corea and Dizzy Gillespie, through his move to the US and the program at USC. Three different rhythm sections bring his music to life, each adding varied sonic textures and rhythmic vitality to the whole. Bassist Clipper Anderson and drummer Mark Ivester swing and float; the vibrant grooves of electric bassist Farko Dosumov and drummer D’Vonne Lewis lend a modern momentum; and the youthful eclecticism of bassist Osama Afifi and drummer Xavier Lecouturier adds yet another dimension.


”… an exceptional album in which pianist Francesco Crosara rises to the Top Ten of jazz composers who deserve to be known. […] Such well-structured music is refreshing. Instead of using superlatives, it’s probably best to listen to this album”
Thierry De Clemensat, Paris-Move

“On keyboards, there’s a Stevie Wonder meets Weather Report feel to “One Day Honey One Day Onions” and the deep dig of the soulful “Sarava” with some tasty electronic bass by Dosumov on “Julia’s Tango”. Some exotic Middle Eastern moods hover between Crosara and Ivester on the exotic “Maktoub” and the ivories dance on the Iberian Peninsula with Lewis and Dosumov for “Preludio Flamenco”. There’s a stately swing to “Circular Motion” with Ivester’s ride cymbal coaxing the leader along on “Gymopedie No. 4”. A strong pair of threes beating all other hands.”
George Harris, Jazz Weekly

Original compositions by Francesco Crosara / Ecila Music (BMI)
Produced by Francesco Crosara
Released by Origin / OA2 Records
Recorded & mixed by David Lange at David Lange Studios, Edgewood, WA
on January 17 & 18, 2022; Assistant Engineer: Benjamin Lange
Mastered by Ross Nyberg at Nyberg Mastering, Issaquah, Washington
Liner notes by David R. Adler
Band photos by Francesco Crosara; Francesco photo by Julia Crosara
Cover design & layout by John Bishop
Published: 2024

2 LONGING 6:24
6 KURAMA 9:48
7 PASSION 8:08
8 MAKTOUB 7:48
10 SARAVA 6:14

Francesco Crosara – acoustic piano, synthesizer (3,9,10)
Clipper Anderson – acoustic bass (2,4,5,8)
Mark Ivester – drums (2,4,5,8)
Farko Dosumov – electric bass (1,3,7,9)
D’Vonne Lewis – drums (1,3,7,9)
Osama Afifi – electric bass (6,10)
Xavier Lecouturier – drums (6,10)


Select each song from the playlist in the top right of the video

“I refuse to be labeled a ‘straightahead’ player or a ‘fusion’ player,” says Italian–born, Seattle–based pianist Crosara. It’s a sentiment widely shared by jazz musicians, though they follow many different roads to get to that place. Crosara, for his part, plays both acoustic piano and Yamaha MODX-8 synthesizer on this absorbing, varied program of original music for three different trio lineups, two of them with electric bass. He cites the influence of Chick Corea, a mentor and family friend who once wrote to Crosara: “Francesco, your music is wonderful, always has been. Play what you love and saturate the world with it.”

Crosara states: “Chick was always innovative in using different bands in different situations. Some of his groups featured jazz legends, others new young talent, or everything in between. I try to do that myself, rather than focus on a single working band, which obviously has its advantages but is also a bit limiting. I’m more interested in discovering new talent and new sounds, and the different approaches to the music that each musician brings.”

Crosara debuted with the quartet release Energy in 1992; his 1999 outing Colors received four stars in DownBeat. In 2008 he released the beautiful Notes: Piano Solo Live. His first trio release was Kurama in 2009, followed by the live trio album Concerto in 2011 for a limited Italian release. Circular Motion includes fresh interpretations of some of this repertoire, which was composed over a period of 40 years. The goal was to highlight that constant evolution, that Circular Motion, that occurs when an artist plays the long game as deftly as Crosara.

The four acoustic numbers—“Longing,” “Gymnopédie No. 4,” “Maktoub” and the title track “Circular Motion”—highlight the rich timbre and presence of double bassist Clipper Anderson and the supple rhythmic flow and texture of drummer Mark Ivester. These are the older heads, seasoned and authoritative in their approach to Crosara’s tunes. “I tailor the songs to the musicians,” Crosara says. “‘Longing’ just calls out for that big resonant acoustic bass, whereas ‘Preludio Flamenco’ is aching for a guitar-like approach, which Farko Dosumov employs on the five-string electric.”

Dosumov and drummer D’Vonne Lewis, the first rhythm section we hear on Circular Motion, represent the mid-40s contingent. They bring a fluid, contemporary post-Jaco feel to “Julia’s Tango,” “Passion” and “One Day Honey, One Day Onions,” as well as the Corea- and Paco de Lucía-influenced “Preludio Flamenco” mentioned above.

“Then in the last trio, which has more of a world music approach, we have Osama Afifi on bass and Xavier LeCouturier on drums,” says Crosara. “Osama is very different from Farko, much less Jaco-influenced and more in the mold of Stanley Clarke or Anthony Jackson. Xavier is only 24 years old, with really monster technique. At 24 there is a different outlook on life than age 40 or 60. It’s fascinating how so much goes into playing—age, energy, maturity—and you can expect a different result from a musician who has had a great deal of life experience, as opposed to someone fresh off the block.”

This “world” trio works out on “Kurama” and “Sarava,” at the middle and end of the program respectively. The former is an evocation of Mount Kurama north of Kyoto, Japan, adapted from a previously recorded three-movement suite; the latter a Brazilian-themed sendoff, in fact one of Crosara’s earliest compositions (from 1981). “Songs go through their own evolution, like people,” the pianist muses. “In 2019 I took the original form of ‘Sarava’ after almost 40 years and enhanced it with a new rubato section and tight obbligato parts to support each solo. The new version, a true suite in three parts, is much more complex, while retaining the joie de vivre of the original.”

On both his instruments, Crosara exhibits a finely honed vocabulary and alert, sparkling touch, locking in creatively with his cohorts in each of the three settings. He dedicates the album to his mother, the one-of-a-kind jazz singer, producer and broadcaster Lilian Terry, who passed not long before this album’s release. Described by writer and friend Raul Da Gama as “a peripatetic Italian ambassador of jazz,” Terry recorded for Soul Note with Tommy Flanagan (1982) and Dizzy Gillespie (1985). She and her son co-led a crisp 2003 date, Emotions, featuring late Chicago tenor legend Von Freeman, who also played on Colors. “Vonski was another big mentor for me,” Crosara recalls. “The greatest advice he gave me: Only two things matter in music—timing and space.”

You can hear how that formative advice has shaped Crosara. Along with Von Freeman, he knew Gillespie, Corea, Max Roach, Abbey Lincoln and many of the jazz legends in his mother’s orbit. His rhythmic instincts, his improvisational grace and his expressive range make clear that his contact with jazz from the very source informs every note he plays. Circular Motion tells that wondrous story of continual artistic growth. — David R. Adler



Live trio performance. Featuring Yasushi Gonjo on bass and Larry Marshall on drums. The title track “Kurama Suite” is a 14-minute original composition inspired by a mystical mountain North of Kyoto. The live performance was entirely recorded as an acoustic trio. During post-production, Francesco added new synthesizer arrangements to the existing tracks resulting in a full orchestral sound.
Recorded live at Jazz On Top, Osaka, Japan on October 25, 2008
Record Label: Crosara Creative
Recording Engineer: Duane Levi
Cover photo and Art Direction by Julia Crosara
Japan Promotion: Shalestone Music

Acoustic Set:

– How Deep Is The Ocean (7:02)
– All Blues (8:05)
– My Funny Valentine (6:56)
– Solar (7:49)
– Maiden Voyage (10:30)
– Well You Needn’t (7:12)

Electric/Orchestral Set:
– Chant For Peace (7:34)
– Cantaloupe Island (4:28)
– Kurama Suite (14:00)

Published: 2009

Select each song from the playlist in the top right of the video



Francesco Crosara has been a world traveler in both his life and his music. He is a strikingly original pianist who displays his own inventive style while reviving standards and debuting new suites. On Kurama, he is heard at his best throughout an intriguing program, improvising with a trio and adding colorful synth parts to create three of his most memorable performances.

Born in Italy and the son of the famous jazz singer Lilian Terry, Francesco started on the piano when he was four. A few years of study at a conservatory convinced him that he was more interested in improvising than in recreating classical works He performed locally in Italy until he was 21, when he moved to the United States to attend USC.

After graduating, he moved to Hawaii where he worked with alto great Gabe Baltazar. During a period spent living in Chicago, Francesco played regularly with veteran tenor-saxophonist Von Freeman. Although he has since settled in Los Angeles, many of Francesco’s performances have taken place overseas in Europe. Kurama documents his debut in Japan.

The trio performances on Kurama were all recorded during a single live performance at an intimate jazz club in Osaka, Jazz On Top. Considering how tight the ensembles, arrangements and communication are, it is surprising to realize that, before their brief sound check, the musicians had never played together before. “The promoter found the two other musicians and proposed them to me,” remembers Francesco, “Through the internet, I was able to listen to them play and sent them lead sheets of my music.” The pianist is proud that the musicians represent three different ethnic groups and three different continents, with bassist Yasushi Gonjo being an Asian from Japan and drummer Larry Marshall an African-American from the U.S. “We came together with our very different life experiences and ended up sounding like we had been playing with each other forever. Yasushi, who is just 23, does not even speak English so we could only communicate exclusively through music, but it worked out very well.”

The first half of this program begins with a tender unaccompanied chorus by Francesco on “How Deep Is The Ocean” before the trio digs in and cooks the standard. The next three selections form a tribute to Miles Davis. It can be a challenge to find something fresh to say on songs that have been performed a countless number of times. In the case of “All Blues,” which is normally taken at a medium-tempo, the trio interpreted it at a much faster pace than is usually heard, giving it fresh life. The piano and bass solos sound effortless and there is also a brief tradeoff with Marshall’s drums. “My Funny Valentine” is essentially a tasteful statement of the melody although the closing vamp is a surprise. “Solar” is given an unusual treatment, with the melody and rhythm deconstructed and broken up before the trio creates a fiery and hard-swinging version.

Herbie Hancock’s always-hypnotic “Maiden Voyage” is a feature for bassist Yasushi Gonjo who plays the introduction and takes an impressive solo. Thelonious Monk’s “Well You Needn’t” has drummer Larry Marshall in the spotlight, taking two solos, driving the ensembles, and inspiring the other players.

The second half of the program has Francesco taking three trio performances from the Osaka concert and reworking them a bit in the studios, enhancing their power without changing their essence. “Chant For Peace” was composed by the pianist shortly after September 11. Both an anti-war and a pro-peace number, “Chant For Peace” is quite bluesy and spiritual with Francesco adding the sound of a Hammond B3 organ and a synthesized choir to the trio. Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island” is given a concise and funky treatment, using a double time feel with synthesizers that really grooves.

The 14-minute three-movement “Kurama Suite” is the third extended work that Francesco has written thus far. “I was drawn to the legend of the Kurama mountain in Japan. I wanted the suite to have an Asian influence, a mystical feel and a modal construction.” After the trio stretched out on the thoughtful piece in concert, Francesco rearranged the tune based on the improvisation, the exact opposite of how it is usually done. The results, which utilize an orchestra arrangement, are haunting and memorable.

Due to the success of this concert, Francesco Crosara was quickly booked to return to Japan to play in five cities. He plans to add a fourth member to his group who specializes in Tibetan percussion. “I want to continue exploring different ethnic musical concepts, bringing those into jazz, and creating original music that inspires me.” The performances on Kurama represent Francesco’s most spirited and satisfying recording to date.

Scott Yanow, Jazz Journalist and Author of Ten Books including The Jazz Singers, Trumpet Kings, Jazz On Film and Jazz On Record 1917-76.


“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)

Published: 2008

Select each song from the playlist in the top right of the video



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.

Francesco Crosara,
September 21, 2008


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.

Francesco Crosara



Recorded in Chicago, features Lilian Terry on vocals in a multi-lingual repertoire of songs interpreted in English, French, Brazilian, and Arabic. The album features a diverse international group including Von Freeman on tenor sax, Dave Marr on bass, Rusty Jones on drums, Paulinho Garcia on guitar and vocals, Heitor Garcia on percussions, Adel Fadel on violin, Edward Hanna on tabla. Horn section: Lynn Colwell, Bruce Knepper, Ned Boyd.

Record Label: TCB Montreux Jazz Label
Recorded at Southport Studios in Chicago
Recording Engineer: Joanie Pallatto
Produced & arranged by Francesco Crosara

– God Bless The Child (11:25)
– Prelude To A Kiss (4:52)
– A Night In Tunisia(5:50)
– Por Causa De Voce (6:50)
– What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life (8:53)
– Easy To Love (4:14)
– Samba Em Preludio (3:42)
– Once Upon A Summertime (3:13)
– Razao De Viver (12:30)
– Passion(4:27)
– A Felicidade(4:27)

Published: 2003

Select each song from the playlist in the top right of the video

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All Music Guide
Jazz Review
Musica Jazz (Italian)
La Stampa (Italian)
The Lion (French)



Recorded in Chicago and Honolulu, features Von Freeman on tenor sax, Dave Marr on bass, Rusty Jones on drums, Dean Taba on electric bass, Noel Okimoto on drums, David Choy on soprano sax, Souren Baronian on dumbek, and Claudia Perez on vocals.


”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.”
John Janowiak, Down Beat Magazine

“… the kind of sensitive swing seldom heard since Bill Evans. […] Crosara’s […] rubato meanderings […] are precious insights into his fertile imagination and harmonic daring.”
Harvey Siders, JazzTimes Magazine

“The piano echoes notes like twinkling stars, beauty surrounded by silence. […] you’ll dance through your tears and love the loneliness, I did.
John Barrett Jr, JazzImprov Magazine

“Francesco Crosara proves he is a pianist with expert chops and broad interests. […] Crosara has an awareness of world music but a firm grounding in the modern jazz vernacular. His major piano influences are unsurprising: Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea. Like them, he has an interest in electric as well as acoustic jazz.”
Joel Roberts, All About Jazz

Record Label: Southport Records
Recorded at Southport Studios in Chicago and in Honolulu, Hawaii
Recording Engineers: Joanie Pallatto (Chicago), Rick Behrens (Honolulu)

– Dolphin Dance (11:25)
– Colors (4:52)
– Someday My Prince Will Come (5:50)
– I Loves You Porgy (-6:50)
– Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most (8:53)
– Plutonium 239 (4:14)
– Petite Peach (3:42)
– Say Goodbye (3:13)
– Suite Venus (dedicated to Chick Corea) (12:30)
– Passion (Paixao) (4:27)

Published: 1999

Select each song from the playlist in the top right of the video



Francesco’s debut album. Recorded in Honolulu, Hawaii, features Miles Jackson on bass, Eric Kurtz on drums, Mike Muldoon on percussion, and a duet with Lilian Terry (Lover Man, recorded live).
Nominated for Instrumental Album of the Year at the Hoku Hanohano Awards in Hawaii, 1993

Record Label: Power Wave Records
Recorded at Commercial Recording Hawaii
Recording Engineer: Donn Tyler

– Prelude (1:53)
– Gymnopedie (6:39)
– Piano Improvisation (6:52)
– Sarava (5:41)
– I Do Believe In Spring (5:45)
– Energy (4:36)
– Alice (5:02)
– Portrait (7:38)
– Italia Suite (10:39)
– Lover Man (5:55)

Published: 1992

Select each song from the playlist in the top right of the video




La Musique de la Côte d’Azur
Music compilation presented by Pino Presti

3 CDs of jazz, latin, and world music from artists with ties to Nice and to the Côte d’Azur
Features Francesco’s songs: Suite Venus (from “Colors”), Easy To Love, God Bless The Child, Por Causa De Voce (from “Emotions” with Lilian Terry)

Read details about this project here

Published: 2009


Music compilation presented by Shalestone Music.
Produced by Duane Levi
Performances from 20 artists participating in the Kansai Music Conference festival event in September 2009.
Features Francesco’s song: Cantaloupe Island (from “Kurama”), with Yasushi Gonjo (bass), and Larry Marshall (drums)

Published: 2009

Building Bridges With Music – Osaka, Japan


Live trio performance at the Teatro Super, Valdagno, Italy, October 7, 2011.
Featuring: Francesco Crosara (piano), Edu Hebling (bass), Mauro Beggio (drums).

Recording engineers: Erich Kaps, Enrico Vangelista
Cover artwork: Chiara Giordani
CD artwork: Julia Wright Crosara
Photography: Gilberto Bicego, Teresa De Toni
Production assistants: Mario Benetti, Andrea Nicolin
Mixing and Mastering: Moca Java Studios, California
Produced by Associazione HDmenti, Valdagno, VI Italy

– Piano Improvisation/Passion (9:22)
– Sarava (9:00)
– Kurama Suite (10:25)
– Medley: I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good/My Funny Valentine (8:37)
– Things Ain’t What They Used To Be (6:35)
– Tribute to Miles Davis: Blue In Green/In A Silent Way/It’s About That Time (13:06)

– Someday My Prince Will Come (6:37)
– Cantaloupe Island (9:19)

Published: 2011 (Italian edition only)

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