Last week's tour with guitarist Steve Cardenas and bass player Andrea Lombardini was definitely one of the best I've done so far. Steve's music, playing, energy and sense of humor are such that it makes it easy to understand how he's one of the most sought after guitar players around the globe. We played 6 gigs in 6 days in 6 different cities in northern and central Italy and we literally had to roller-coast up and down the peninsula. Nevertheless it was still a lot of fun. Andrea's car and driving were so smooth, it seemed like every trip was pretty short.
We started off in Firenze playing at Kitsch Deux Jazz, a cozy and - yes! - kitsch pub in the heart of the beautiful city in Tuscany. A lot of musicians and international students showed up, making it the perfect situation to shed the new material. The following day we performed at Eden Theater in Brescia for the concert series Jazz On The Road. Mr. Fabio Zanetti, the sound man, did an amazing job with the acoustics of the room, making it so pleasant to play. We then returned to Tuscany to play in Pisa. The gig took place at this really cool music bar, called Ex-Wide, which got packed with 200 and more of very passionate listeners. The hotel we stayed at was right in front of "a" leaning tower and the weather the following morning was magnificent. In Vicenza we got hosted by Thelonius Music School for a workshop/concert. Thanks to Michele Calgaro for putting it all together. The 5th day (after god created birds and fishes) we proceeded down to Recanati in the region of Marche. We got put up in a beautiful hotel in the town's centre and we played at the hotel's cafe' which at night turns into a fine jazz club. Our last gig made us go back north, precisely to Piove Di Sacco, an ancient little town in the province of Padova, my hometown, where we played a beautiful and cozy old philharmonic theater.
Musically speaking we mostly performed tunes from Steve's last record "West Of Middle" which originally features Ben Allison on bass and Rudy Royston on drums as well as from his previous record "Panoramic" with Tony Malaby, Larry Grenadier and Kenny Wollesen. Steve's music covers a lot of ground stylistically, country folk, new orleans funk, jazz standards, soft rock to free form and out of time collective playing. This for a drummer is pure heaven, being able to experiment all the repertoire achieved in years of practicing and gigging. Andrea and I have been playing together as a rhythm section in an outstanding number of situations since I moved back to Italy, which made me feel very comfortable. I especially loved his spacey introductions on "Drifter" one of Steve's most beautiful tunes, a slow rock ballad where the sole improvisation is based on dynamic playing. Hopefully soon I'll be able to post some videos. In the meantime you can listen to Steve's beautiful records. This project might also turn into something even more interesting, more details later ;-)