Blood & Champagne


This was recorded with my Uk Quartet featuring Frank Harrison on piano, Laurence Cottle on electric bass and Chris Nickolls on drums. In this new recording I decided to include four new original compositions, two of which are directly inspired from a couple of books I have recently read: "Il Tunnel della liberta' " and 'Blood & Champagne'.

'Il Tunnel della liberta' by author's name translates into 'The Tunnel of freedom' and narrates the true story of two italian students Gigi and Mimmo living in West Berlin. In September 1962, the students showed incredible determination, ingenuity and diligence over many long weeks, coupled with a great deal of luck. They managed to build a tunnel of 165 meters under the Berlin Wall and in doing so, they saved their best friend Peter, his family and other 36 people from the East side, all of this without being caught by the secret agents of the Stasi. The composition conveys the sense of suspense, fear and pressure these two students must have experienced in completing this almost impossible task.

'Blood & Champagne' is inspired from a book by Alex Kershaw based on the life and times of war photographer Robert Capa. This is a second composition of mine dedicated to one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century. As the title suggests Capa's life was essentially spent in war, taking some of the most courageous and poignant photos of the last century and alternating this dangerous life style with more bohemian interests - romantic affairs, gambling, etc. The music I wrote is a portrayal of his dangerous life and adventurous character.

My other composition Intercalare, for which I haven't found an exact translation in English, refers to the constant use of a word or expression by someone even when itís not necessary needed, some kind of 'verbal tick'; you'll hear a repeated two bar ' intercalare' melody throughout the composition to which all the rest of the melody and harmony is drawn.

Having a passion for evocative and melodic compositions, I decided to include in this album two pieces from two composers that I admire very much: Ennio Morricone's theme from 'Nuovo Cinema Paradiso' and Michelle Petrucciani's waltz 'Even Mice Dance' from his album 'Marvelous', in which he performs in trio with a string quartet; the 'C' Minor Prelude Opus 28 No 20 by Chopin was apparently an inspiration to this composition. I decided to start off Petrucciani's tune with the Prelude since the two seem to complement each other.

At last, to complete the recording I wanted to include a few standards that I always have great fun performing: 'Johnny Come Lately' , 'Days of Wine and Roses', and 'The Party's Over'. I hope you enjoy the music!

Below are two radio Interviews following the release of the album  and promoting the tour.

Interview by Helen Mayhew on Jazz FM Interview on