The last weeks of September and the first of October were definitely 2 busy weeks. I had a chance to move forward with two new projects recently born around the same time, last spring. Remember Frank? is a collaboration with my old school mate, bass player, now a resident of Belgium, Nicola Lancerotti and spanish/belgian saxophonist and flutist Jordi Grognard. In our last tour we played three shows in Italy (Trento, Vicenza and Colli Euganei just outside of Padova). The direction of this project tends towards a blending of world sounds and rhythms with sporadical jumps into the New Thing of the '60s. Jordi's flute and bansouri playing definitely adds a particular color to this small ensemble making it more spiritual and sacred. I could see people being captured and mesmerized in those meditative moments with Jordi playing the indian flute, me playing bells and Nicola bowing his arco on the bass. It made me realize how creative music can become, at times, ritualistic and functional, escorting the audience through an inner journey of subtle sensations, just like in meditation. I get my greatest satisfaction seeing musically untrained people being attracted to unconventional sounds and sophisticated rhythms. I feel very fulfilled whenever that happens.

I had a similar experience at the Pollini Auditorium in Padova, a beautiful classical music hall, packed with nearly 500 people on October 1st for my concert with Don Byron and Fabrizio Puglisi. The event was organized by some students of the University of Padova in occasion of the European Forum for Students Rights. I've been getting very attracted lately to playing without a bass player in order to experience both rhythmical freedom as well as a call for strength and extra concentration. So far we have been performing a very colorful repertoire of originals from both Don and Fab, some standards and folkloric songs.

The following day the trio flew to Sicily, to perform in the small town of Salemi. The festival was a tribute to visionary clarinetist Tony Scott, whose family originates from that town. The concert was held in the ruins of the Norman Castle built around the year 1300. It was a warm beautiful day, stunning landscape and a melancholic sunset. Needless to say the atmosphere was magical. Before our set Monica Shaka, one of Tony's two daughters, entertained the audience in a duo with Sicilian piano player Salvatore Bonafede performing some standard ballads and a few originals contained in her new self-titled release. I also need to mention what an honor it was to be invited to play at this festival and to be introduced on stage by one the main jazz critics, historians, journalists and teachers in the country, Mr. Stefano Zenni.

Hopefully there will be releases by both these projects in the future. For now I've been pretty constant with documenting the concerts with audio and video recording. At the moment I find myself in China, where I just extendedly toured with fellow musicians Michael Blake, Teddy Kumpel and Peter Scherr. It's been a great tour and sadly we only have a couple of gigs left and 2 days of recording. I'm really excited about this project both for the human and musical experience. More details with videos, images and clips in the next post.

Two other announcements before I go: I will be appearing at the Roma Jazz Festival on November 13 for a concert held at Teatro Studio in the Auditorium Parco della Musica with the Alessandro Lanzoni Trio.

And last but not least I recently opened my Bandcamp page, where you can easily and cheaply download all the albums I led and co-led in the past few years. Please spread the word!!

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