Antonia e Altre Canzoni

Antonio Zambrini

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Antonia e Altre Canzoni Review

by Thom Jurek

Antonio Zambrini's debut as a leader -- accompanied here splendidly by bassist Tito Mangialajo Rantzer and drummer Carlo Virzi (with Ricardo Luppi blowing tenor on one track) -- is an auspicious one for Italian jazz in particular and Euro-jazz in general. Like many of the Italian piano lineage, Zambrini studied the French Impressionist composers and their American counterparts, like Samuel Barber. But Zambrini also studied deeply the lyrical yet fickle sonances of Bill Evans as a direct descendant of these very musicians as opposed to some kind of jazz counterpart. There is also the hint of Scriabin in his composing and Teddy Wilson in his playing, particularly in the middle register where the right hand resists a run in favor of a few more colors in chords. This is most evident on the title track and "Passiflora," where the creation of color and impression are the entire statement. There is nothing to resolve only the discovery -- in communication with his sidemen -- that something must be left out. The swing is deep, and lyricism is so high on the scale the listener swoons and the compositions themselves are to say the very least phenomenal. Here is a cat that should be studied by every piano student on the boards. This is romantic music, but there's nothing soupy, faddish, or remotely retro about it. In fact, along with his compadres in Italy, Zambrini is creating the new lyricism, the one we'll be following closely a few years from now -- after an American picks up on it and cashes in.

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