My second “Photographic Jazz” project is inspired by my love for the cinema and for black and white photography.
In 2005 I worked on the images produced by the Magnum photographer,, part of whose fame was due to the irony present in some of his photos. Eight particularly original and diverse photos by Erwitt had inspired as many compositions, which were recorded with my British quintet.
“Italian Short Stories” is instead the fruit of my decision to recount something of my Italian past in 14 photos taken in different parts of Italy by one of the greatest Italian master photographers, Gianni Berengo Gardin.
When I asked myself why I wanted to embark on this “Italian” project – a novel idea, quite unlike the Bepop and the Swing of Afro-American jazz that had hitherto been my inspiration – I came to the conclusion that after 20 years in the UK and notwithstanding my good fortune in living in one of the most beautiful and stimulating cities of the world, London, I had succumbed to a touch of healthy homesickness and nostalgia for the memories of my childhood.
So it was that I felt the need to work with my quartet on compositions with strong melodies, in tune with the elements that make Italian music so famous throughout the world.
Improvisation is still present but in a less important role: it is the melodies that accompany and bring to life the images, that tell a tale. Given the large number of pieces, I decided that the tracks should be brief while still leading the listener on a short journey into each photo.
I should like to explain that the ten compositions presented here were written with my musician friends, and in mind; I admire them a lot and consider myself very lucky to have played with them for seven years. I am also extremely grateful that was able to take part in this project: he is the perfect musician to express the poetry and “Italian-ness” of the photos we interpreted. Thanks to Berengo Gardin his wonderful photos led my imagination to Italian cities such as Palermo, Milan, Naples, Venice, Florence … for me it was a leap back into my Italian background and the memories and experiences that infected my music are still a source of delight and contentment. I wish the listener a similar experience!