Rossano Sportiello

Heart and Soul, Vol. 14: Arbors Piano Series

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31-year-old Italian pianist Rossano Sportiello was a new name to most Americans at the time of this 2005 recording, but his playing is very easy to enjoy. The main influence on his swing playing is Teddy Wilson, with touches of Dave McKenna and Art Tatum also being heard. A melodic improviser who considers Barry Harris to be one of his most important teachers, Sportiello digs into a variety of standards that are mostly from the 1930s plus a few earlier numbers, Harris' "Tommy's Ballad" and his own "The Pink and Grey Girl." His solo piano style sometimes includes stride or Dave McKenna-style basslines while being personal and fresh. Heart and Soul is easily recommended to fans of vintage pre-bop piano.

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