Gianni Basso / Renato Sellani

Two for the Cities

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This series of studio sessions, with two exceptions, is made up of intimate duets by two Italian jazz masters, pianist Renato Sellani and tenor saxophonist Gianni Basso, with each song saluting a prominent city. Sellani's lush phrasing is the perfect complement to Basso's full-bodied sax in the sensational opener "Autumn in New York." After hearing the sensitive treatment of John Lewis' "Milano," a heartfelt rendition of "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans," and their witty approach to "A Foggy Day (In London Town)," it's obvious that each of them is a seasoned player. Basso contributes two originals, including "Moon Over Asti," a jaunty tribute to his birthplace, and the gorgeous ballad "Firenze Under Stars," a piece worthy of becoming a jazz standard. The two musicians jointly composed the multi-faceted "Pres De St. Germain (Paris)," which mixes a bluesy flavor with waltz time and then a detour into bop. There are bonus alternate takes, as well, not all of which are by Sellani and Basso together. Sellani duets with fl├╝gelhornist Fabrizio Bosso, while the tenor saxophonist is heard with a full rhythm section anchored by pianist Andrea Pozza for a swinging "Dear Old Stockholm," though it is prematurely faded out. This is highly recommended.

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