Francesco Cafiso

New York Lullaby

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Francesco Cafiso has caught the attention of numerous critics since veteran writer Ira Gitler raved about the then-13-year-old alto saxophonist's stunning performance with pianist Franco D'Andrea at the Pescara Jazz Festival in 2002. This CD, recorded in the U.S. for a Japanese label with a seasoned American rhythm section, marks a series of firsts for Cafiso: his initial recording outside of his Italian homeland, plus his debut for a non-Italian label and first record date playing (though hardly his first performance) with American jazz musicians. With pianist David Hazeltine, bassist David Williams, and drummer Joe Farnsworth providing terrific support, Cafiso digs into a program filled with typical favorite standards, jazz compositions, and one bossa nova, sounding surprisingly mature and confident, as he was only 16 at the time of the sessions. The young man is still finding his voice on the instrument, but he is a natural who obviously has spent many an hour honing his craft before entering the studio. Highlights include a loping treatment of "Lullaby of Birdland," a passionate, extended treatment of "Estate" and a Phil Woods-like arrangement of "Willow Weep for Me" in which the rhythm section incorporates a bit of Miles Davis' "All Blues" behind his solo. Highly recommended!

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