One of the top young stride/swing pianists in the world today, Rossano Sportiello is from Italy and in his early thirties as of this writing. During a period when skilled stride pianists are few and far between, Sportiello plays with a relaxed swing, paying respect to the original melodies while also adding something of his own to each performance. He is so highly rated by his fellow musicians (although still relatively unknown to the American jazz public) that trombonist Dan Barrett wrote the liner notes to In the Dark. It is surprising that it took some time for this solo set to be reissued in the U.S. because Sportiello has since recorded for other labels, but In the Dark predates all of his other projects. Sportiello's wide-ranging set including swing standards, Bix Beiderbecke's "In the Dark," "O Sole Mio," a Bill Evans trilogy, his own memorable "Pettrioso," Ellis Larkins' obscure "Perfume and Rain," and a medley of an Eastwood Lane piece and Dan Barrett's "Eastwood Lane."
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow