I recently came back from a wonderful tour in China with a new project called The Tectonic Quartet along with Michael Blake on saxophone, Teddy Kumpel on guitar and Peter Scherr on bass. Peter, a Hong Kong resident for now 20 years, has been covering a very important role in spreading creative music projects all over China for several years. After a two-days rehearsal in his wonderful recording studio we took off to mainland China cruising through many different cities for a total of 9 concerts in 10 days. I particularly enjoyed playing at the outdoor JZ festival in a beautiful park in Shanghai which reminded me of Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park. As it often happens nowadays Jazz Festivals include not so jazzy acts, but then again what is jazz anyway? Shanghai was definitely a mesmerizing city, very international and racially diverse.
Another remarkable venue was in Qingdao, famous for its Tsingtao Beer brewery. Once a German colony Qingdao faces the Yellow Sea and South Korea. We played in a beautiful art space called the Redstar 401 run by Steve Madiwen, an American entrepreneur living in China for more than two decades. Here's a clip of our performance:
Playing at Freedom House in Changsha was also very fascinating. A cozy cafe' situated in the ancient part of town, this place is run by a few hippie guys and girls who serve delicious teas and coffees and spend countless hours carving oddly shaped pieces of wood while listening to experimental jazz. Hanging out with these beautiful people was for me definitely one of the highlights of the tour.
Once back in Hong Kong, after a day break, we started working in Pete's recording studio to lay down a considerable number of tracks that we had been playing live. Mixing and editing is now in process and I look forward to hear the result of 3 very inspiring days. After this we went and played our most fierce performance at another very atmospheric venue, Hidden Agenda, located on the 3rd floor of a building in an industrial area of Hong Kong, which made the perfect conclusion to a very successful tour. A very entertaining take on all this was published by Michael Blake on his Blog. Definitely worth reading!
Now back in Italy I just played Auditorium Parco Della Musica in Rome for the annual "Gezz - Roma Jazz Festival" with piano player Alessandro Lanzoni and bassist Gabriele Evangelista. I have been playing with these young talents for a year and a half now and overtime this project is growing deeper and deeper, always finding new ways of self-expression. Hopefully we will release an album in the near future.
Next month I will be playing with an excellent quintet featuring Michele Polga (saxophone), Fabrizio Bosso (trumpet), Luca Mannutza (piano) and Luca Bulgarelli (bass). For details on the itinerary please see the "Shows" page. Ciao!!!