Francesco Cafiso

Very Early!

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This compilation represents some of the earliest informal recordings of alto saxophonist Francesco Cafiso, who was the hit of the 2002 Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy. Since these live recordings were taped in 2001 (along with a few home recordings on New Year's Day, 2002), he had not yet matured to the level which later caused notables such as Phil Woods and Ira Gitler to sing his praises. In any case, Cafiso had already developed a surprising bebop vocabulary and technical command for someone only 12 years of age. The cast of supporting musicians varies from track to track, and includes some of the top Italian players (pianists Franco D'Andrea, Stefano Bollaniand Renato Sellani, guitarist Irio De Paula and trumpeter Fabrizio Bosso, to name just a few). Cafiso tackles a number of standards and classic jazz compositions with equal fervor, even adding an unaccompanied original, "Minor Blues," which wraps with a quote from Milt Jackson's "Reunion Blues." He also evidently plays additional reed instruments (though none of them are listed in the liner notes or on the cover), including an Eric Dolphy-like flute in "Meditation," soprano sax in "Someday My Prince Will Come," and piano in his own brisk (if somewhat heavy-handed) "Petit Piano Blues." It is unfair to judge this young musician to the standards of a full-fledged professional at this point in his career, but this CD should be considered as documentation of an emerging talent in his tender years. Francesco Cafiso is easily one of the most exciting players in jazz to emerge in the early-21st century, and he obviously has the potential to go far, as these performances promise.