: The full story
Let's face it, despite all its history and the
anectodes that surround its most famous exponents and followers,
acid jazz as a musical scene was very hip between the late eighties
and the early nineties. GAZZARA could easily have
stayed one of the few italian acts that abandoned the diversity
of acid jazz as a genre to embrace national language lyrics and
pop music. Or they could have been a band for purists, releasing
always the same album for a few chosen fans, as credible as f**k.
They chose neither route. Led by keyboardist, arranger and composer
Francesco Gazzara they chose to make “jazz
related music” that was as contemporary and relevant in the
years as anything else coming out from the trend of the moment.
This is why since 1996 their albums never sound the same despite
their songs always keep a distinct “Gazzara”
feel made of jazz, funk, bossa, lounge and soul influences.
In 1996 GAZZARA released “One”
(Irma Records) to considerable critical acclaim and general appreciation.
Acid jazz with the rigour of a classics recording, by turns innovating
and vintage, a rich tracklist with many guests (James Taylor
from JTQ amongst all), it established that the musicians involved
were pure talents in their own right. In 1998 their second release
“Grand Central Boogie” (Irma)
departed from the acid jazz boom to explore the fertile grounds
of house music and electro. The single “Timeless”
gained decent popularity after being included in the french compilation
“Hotel Costes Vol.3”. By then
the band’s original line up - a trio with Francesco
Gazzara on keys, Massimo Sanna on bass
and Mauro “Mirtao” Mirti on percussion
- was already touring far off from their homeland, playing in various
places such as the Jazz Cafè in London or the Montreaux Jazz
Festival in Switzerland.
In 2002 the third release “The Spirit Of Summer”
(Irma) - with a funkier feel and various influences as soundtrack
and lounge music - rocketed GAZZARA to both sides
of the oceans, first to a live residency at the Yokohama’s
Motion Blue club in Japan and secondly to the HBO headquarters in
New York, when a couple of tracks from the album were included in
the first episodes of TV’s huge success “Sex
& The City”.
Then entered a decade of parallel projects for Francesco
Gazzara as Hammond Express (from space
age to lounge soul) and The Piano Room (a jazz
trio playing prog rock), including two more albums as GAZZARA,
the latin soul tinged “Brother And Sister”
(2006) and the pop lounge saga of “My Cup Of Tea”
(2009). A few years on they dedicated a whole album to one of their
biggest influences, “The Bossa Lounge Experience”
(2013, Irma), following the classic style of Sergio Mendes, Tom
Jobim, Eumir Deodato, Azymuth and Marcos Valle.
A direct development from his work on The Piano Room’s project,
“Gazzara Plays Genesis” (Irma)
was finally released in late 2014, a double album (both lp &
cd formats) entirely dedicated to the legendary english prog gods
with Francesco Gazzara managing all keys and conducting
a small chamber orchestra ensemble.
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