Francesco Crosara

Circular Motion

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Music Editor, Udite Udite (Italy)


"I refuse to be labeled as a 'straightahead' musician or a 'fusion' musician," says the resident Italian pianist in Seattle, Francesco Crosara. It's a sentiment widely shared by jazz musicians, even if each takes different paths to reach that point. Crosara, for the part of him, plays both the acoustic piano and the Yamaha MODX-8 synthesizer this engaging and varied program of original music for three different trio formations, two of which with electric bass. He cites the influence of Chick Corea, a mentor and family friend, who once wrote to Crosara: "Francesco, your music is wonderful, always has been. Play what you love and saturate the world with it." Crosara says: "Chick has always been innovative in using different formations in different situations. Some of his groups they featured jazz legends, other young emerging talents, or everything in between. I try to do the same, rather than focus on a single working group, which obviously has the advantages of him but is also a bit limiting. I'm more interested to discover new talents and new sounds, and to the different approaches to music that each musician brings."

Crosara debuted with the quartet's album "Energy" in 1992; His 1999 work "Colors" received four stars from DownBeat. In 2008 he published the beautiful "Notes: Piano Solo Live". His first trio album was "Kurama" in 2009, followed from the live trio album "Concerto" in 2011, for limited distribution in Italy. "Circular Motion" includes fresh reinterpretations of some of these compositions, written over the course of 40 years. The goal was highlight that constant evolution, that "Circular Motion", which occurs when an artist plays for a long time with skills such as Crosara.

The four acoustic songs - "Longing", "Gymnopédie No. 4", "Maktoub" and the title track "Circular Motion" - highlight the double bassist Clipper Anderson's rich timbre and presence and drummer Mark's flexible rhythmic flow and texture Ivester. These are the older musicians, experienced and authoritative in their approach to Crosara's compositions. "Suitable for songs to musicians," says Crosara. "'Longing' simply calls for that big, resonant acoustic double bass, while 'Preludio Flamenco' seeks a similar approach to that of the guitar, which Farko Dosumov uses with the five-piece electric bass

Dosumov and drummer D'Vonne Lewis, the first rhythm section we hear in "Circular Motion", represent the band of age around 40 years. They bring a fluid, contemporary post-Jaco feel to "Julia's Tango," "Passion," and "One Day Honey, One Day Onions," as well as the Corea and Paco de Luc'a-influenced track, "Preludio Flamenco," mentioned earlier. "Then in the last trio, which has a more world music approach, we have Osama Afifi on bass and Xavier LeCouturier on drums," he says Crosara. "Osama is very different from Farko, much less influenced by Jaco and more in the vein of Stanley Clarke or Anthony Jackson. Xavier is only 24 years old, with a truly monstrous technique. At 24 there is a different perspective on life than at 40 or 60. he IS fascinating how so many things go into playing - age, energy, maturity - and you can expect a different outcome from a musician who has had a lot of life experience, compared to someone who just arrived on the scene."

This "world" trio performs "Kurama" and "Sarava", respectively in the middle and at the end of the program. The first is an evocation of Mount Kurama north of Kyoto, Japan, adapted from a three-movement suite previously registered; the second is a Brazilian-themed farewell, in fact one of Crosara's first compositions (from 1981). "Songs they go through their evolution, like people," reflects the pianist. "In 2019 I took the original form of 'Sarava' after almost 40 years old and I have enriched it with a new rubato section and tight obligatory parts to support each solo. The new version, a true three-part suite, is much more complex, while maintaining the joie de vivre of the original." On both his instruments, Crosara displays a finely crafted vocabulary and a sparkling, attentive touch, blending creatively with his companions in each of the three configurations. He dedicates the album to his mother, the singular jazz singer, producer and presenter Lilian Terry, who passed away shortly before the release of this album. Described by friend ewriter Raul Da Gama as "a peripatetic Italian jazz ambassador," Terry recorded for Soul Note with Tommy Flanagan (1982) and Dizzy Gillespie (1985). She and her son co-led a crisp album in 2003, "Emotions," with the legendary Chicago tenor player Von Freeman, who also played in "Colors". "Vonski was another great mentor.





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