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Quartetto Di Lucca - Quartetto
Vinyl LP
£23.99

Quartetto Di Lucca

Quartetto

Schema Rearward

Released: 7th July 2014 | 7 track jazz-funk album

It is quite rare to discover on the Italian Jazz scene a successful

ensemble, which passed unscathed through years. Bands are

usually weakened or put in crisis, most of the times caused by

sudden changes in line-ups.

The Quartetto di Lucca is a band of young players which

formerly were part of the amateurial Hot Clubs and some years

ago debuted among the pros.

The quartet of Lucca, however, has a peculiarity of its own, the

ability to defend the results and the continuity of a fruitful

collaboration with a compromise: the pure jazz calling, more

congenial and relevant to the quartet, is flanked by a more pop

concert activity with the specific aim of ensuring the survival of

the first through the latter.

The band was born as a quintet at the end of 1957, with the actual

members accompanied by the guitarist Gaetano Mariani, who left

the ensemble in the summer of 1961.

1958 had seen their official debut in Rome at Quirino Theatre, in

occasion of a contest reserved to rising Jazz stars in which they

were awarded first prize. A few months later, they recorded their

first album as a quintet for RCA Italy. It was the birth of a fruitful

collaboration, which still lasts.

Between 1958 and 1959 the quintet toured extensively; in 1959

the famous venue Il Bussolotto, located on the wonderful coast

of Tuscany, hired them to play among the finest Italian jazzmen

and in that occasion they had been chosen to support the second

tour Chet Baker did in Italy.

The band had the opportunity to play for six months in the USA, a

period in which they could listen to American musicians in their

environment and discover the latest trends.

Once back in Italy, bassist Giovanni Tommaso and vibraphonist

Antonello Vannucchi took part independently in countless gigs

and played with international artists like John Lewis, Kenny

Clarke, Chet Baker, Buddy Collette, Bobby Jaspar and René

Thomas. This experience was vital for the ensemble, which came

back on stage invigorated in the summer of 1961. The Jazz Cup

award, the most important radio show organised by RAI (Italian

national radio and television) was their crowning moment. They were then featured in another famous radio show, Jazz in Italia and many gigs followed. The

band performed a series of concerts playing with a more pop edge at the famous summer club La

Capannina at Forte dei Marmi for two consecutive seasons.

Again, in the jazz scene they reached new heights, with other 15 radio shows, TV appearances on

which they had the chance to play along with Sonny Rollins and Toot Thielemans.

This Jazz LP highlights the most peculiar and characteristically qualities of the quartet: the sharp

and conscious language research, the perfect technique of the musicians displayed in their solos, the

fine choice of repertoire articulated around original themes and the versatile improvisation.

A fine taste for language and structure innovation can be found in songs like Quartetto and Estate

'61, both written by Vito Tommaso. Quartetto is an innovative piece whose vivid and engaging

core is underlined by major chords with solos of piano, vibraphone and bass.

Estate '61, harmonically adherent to the traditional blues structure, is in the first part enriched by

atmospheric tones and nuances; then a spectacular series of solos is concluded by the bass which

leads all to the exquisite ending.

Solos are consistent and technically exceptional: Blues for Carole n. 2 and Like Someone in

Love are evidences of the technical expertise and creativity of Giovanni Tommaso. The latter, a

tender ballad written by Jimmy Van Heusen, is interpreted with intense rapture by Vannucchi, who

exalted the beauty of the melody.

Soft Winds is a well known theme by Benny Goodman: the version by Aldo Vannucchi is

particularly captivating, with a series of charming solos.

Gabry, written by Vannucchi, is a homage to the brief but intense season of west coast jazz and to

the players belonging to that scene.

Night in Tunisia is the only song coming from a Bop background: one of the most successful

themes by Dizzy Gillespie is the moment to state the maturity of the quartet and his instrumentalists

as soloists. A trenchant and solid interpretation, proof of the quartet's refined formal research,

intuition and fruitful cooperation.

ALFREDO LUCIANO CATALANI