Monday, June 16, 2014



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. ~


Like Richard Olivers Dicky Oliver, Style was an LP released on the RCA Italy catalogue. Style, is an extremely rare album which was not conceived for sale but for synchronisation purpose only. This was quite common at those times, with many labels producing music for film, radio and tv and consequently pressing limited quantities of wax, which became rapidly collectible. Popoff is a superb example of italian 70s Jazz Funk infused with a characteristic Progressive flavour, which was a trending genre at that time. Among the eleven tracks of the LP Notte a Bagdad and Kimono Pop present wicked grooves and evocative atmospheres Originally released in 1974 now this highly sought-after title is again available on Schema Easy Series. ~


Varady blends the accomplished technique of Wes Montgomery, soulful voicing of George Benson and Gypsy swing of Django Reinhardt. While he started absorbing these masters from his parents record collection, he also has a fresh view on their legacy.
I always knew that I was slightly different than other people, Varady said from his family s home in Limerick, Ireland. Not that I was better, but just slightly different. When I was 12, the kids at my school were into casual things, and I was into way different things. This guitarist also stands out from many veteran musicians. Guitar Player put Varady on its cover in 2012 and that summer he performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in front the festival s legendary founder, the late Claude Nobs, and world renowned producer Quincy Jones, who has since taken Varady on as a protégé. Andreas is the complete package, Jones said. He s a 360-degree musician whose knowledge and appreciation for all genres from jazz and hip-hop to rock and pop can be felt in his music. ~

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