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Gershwin on Air - Porgy, Bess and Beyond

Massimiliano Rolff

Gershwin on Air - Porgy, Bess and Beyond

Price: € 19.95 13.97
Format: CD
Label: Challenge Records
UPC: 0608917352726
Catnr: CR 73527
Release date: 19 November 2021
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19.95 13.97
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Label
Challenge Records
UPC
0608917352726
Catalogue number
CR 73527
Release date
19 November 2021

"What is striking is the flexibility with which the three musicians place themselves unreservedly at the disposal of the composition and the interpretation that the conductor wishes to convey."

FranceMusique, 08-12-2021
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About the album

“George Gershwin’s extraordinary musical world emerges, caresses us, amazes us and finally overwhelms us in the uniqueness of this recording. Rolff shapes in a contemporary writing, the songs, the musicals, the jazz and the orchestral sound that made Gershwin’s music the pillar on which the ‘American Sound’ is built.“

The measure of the greatness of a composer’s work is certainly indicated by its ability to speak to successive generations of performers and listeners. Massimiliano Rolff, in these arrangements for his trio, discovers some hidden facets in these famous songs, such as those penned by George Gershwin that have now entered the Golden Age repertoire of American Song. The album starts off with his work Porgy and Bess, to which a specific and poignant suite is dedicated, and moves on to a series of single songs that were composed for other shows but have survived as stand-alone songs, including great classics and rediscoveries that fit in well.

The arrangements are written from the point of view of the double bass player, and this instrument acts as something of a litmus test for the differences between the classical European tradition and music of the African diaspora. The sound of the double bass is as omnipresent in jazz and in other black music as it is secondary or neglected in western classical music. Following the example of jazz, musicians in the second half of the twentieth century discovered the double bass as an inexhaustible source of sounds, capable of singing or moaning, of being romantic or percussive, and often in this record the melodic role of the double bass is highlighted to provide the exposition of the themes, underlining its wide capabilities. And yet, the trio naturally and fluidly undergoes continuous changes of role, without assigning fixed attributes of accompanist or soloist to the musicians with whom Rolff has chosen to collaborate. On the piano, we find the very young talent Tommaso Perazzo, who will be a real discovery to those not yet acquainted with him, capable of a mature and balanced performance without any needless display of his sparkling technique, while the drummer Antonio Fusco expresses an orchestral and melodic drum concept without losing sight of the sense of propulsion that is also essential in this music. What is striking is the flexibility with which the three musicians in this ensemble unreservedly place themselves at the disposal of the composition and the interpretation that the leader wishes to convey, with interventions that are appropriate to the specific expressive and emotional dimensions of the unique arrangement. From the very first bars of the introduction and the Latin groove of “It ain’t necessarily so”, there is a feeling that we are dealing with an original and solid idea, not a simple recreation; the piece is continuously varied in every aspect, while always remaining true to the original.

Among the songs in the repertoire, perhaps the least visited by the mainstream is “Who Cares?” (despite the historical version by Bill Evans and some recent appearances in pop music). We hear a relaxed version that also features some unexpected glimpses in the reinterpretations of the theme, as well as in the solos: an excellent representation of the qualities of this trio, which recreates a Gershwin by turns meditative and nocturnal, solar and rhythmic, always open to a contemporary improvisation that enhances the classical values, the singable melodies, and the delicate harmonies.

De arrangementen voor jazz trio op het album ‘Gershwin on Air - Porgy, Bess and Beyond’ zijn geschreven uit het perspectief van de Italiaanse contrabassist Massimiliano Rolff. Het geluid van de contrabas speelt in tegenstelling tot in de westerse klassieke muziek een belangrijke rol in jazz. In navolging van de jazz ontdekten musici in de tweede helft van de twintigste eeuw de contrabas als onuitputtelijke inspiratiebron van klanken, en het instrument heeft op dit album de melodische rol om de thema’s te laten horen.

Het album ‘Gershwin on Air - Porgy, Bess and Beyond’ opent met de suite uit Gershwin's opera ‘Porgy and Bess’ gevolgd door geweldige Gershwin klassiekers en herontdekkingen waaronder het minder bekende “Who Cares?” De interpretatie van dit excellente trio versterkt Gershwin’s verfijnde harmonieën en goed in het gehoor liggende melodieën door eigentijdse improvisaties, zonder de klassieke waarde te verliezen.

"George Gershwins außergewöhnliche musikalische Welt taucht auf, umschmeichelt uns, erstaunt uns und überwältigt uns schließlich in der Einzigartigkeit dieser Aufnahme. Rolff formt in einer zeitgemäßen Schreibweise die Songs, die Musicals, den Jazz und den Orchesterklang, die Gershwins Musik zu dem Fundament machten, auf dem der 'American Sound' aufgebaut ist."

Der Gradmesser für die Größe des Werks eines Komponisten ist sicherlich seine Fähigkeit, auf nachfolgende Generationen von Interpreten und Zuhörern einzuwirken. Massimiliano Rolff entdeckt in diesen Bearbeitungen für sein Trio einige verborgene Facetten in diesen berühmten Liedern, wie z. B. jenen aus der Feder von George Gershwin, die heute zum Repertoire des Goldenen Zeitalters des American Song gehören. Das Album beginnt mit seinem Werk Porgy and Bess, dem eine spezielle und ergreifende Suite gewidmet ist, und geht über zu einer Reihe von einzelnen Songs, die für andere Shows komponiert wurden, aber als eigenständige Lieder überlebt haben, darunter große Klassiker und Wiederentdeckungen, die sich gut einfügen.
Die Arrangements sind aus der Sicht des Kontrabassisten geschrieben, und dieses Instrument dient als eine Art Lackmustest für die Unterschiede zwischen der klassischen europäischen Tradition und der Musik der afrikanischen Diaspora. Der Klang des Kontrabasses ist im Jazz und in anderer schwarzer Musik ebenso allgegenwärtig wie er in der westlichen klassischen Musik zweitrangig oder vernachlässigt ist. Nach dem Vorbild des Jazz entdeckten die Musiker in der zweiten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts den Kontrabass als unerschöpfliche Klangquelle, die singen oder stöhnen, romantisch oder perkussiv sein kann, und oft wird in dieser Platte die melodische Rolle des Kontrabasses hervorgehoben, um die Themen zu exponieren und seine vielfältigen Möglichkeiten zu unterstreichen. Und doch wechselt das Trio auf natürliche und fließende Weise ständig die Rollen, ohne den Musikern, mit denen Rolff zusammenarbeitet, feste Attribute wie Begleiter oder Solist zuzuweisen. Am Klavier finden wir das sehr junge Talent Tommaso Perazzo, der für diejenigen, die ihn noch nicht kennen, eine echte Entdeckung sein wird, fähig zu einer reifen und ausgewogenen Darbietung, ohne seine glänzende Technik unnötig zur Schau zu stellen, während der Schlagzeuger Antonio Fusco ein orchestrales und melodisches Schlagzeugkonzept zum Ausdruck bringt, ohne dabei den Sinn für den Antrieb aus den Augen zu verlieren, der auch in dieser Musik wesentlich ist. Auffallend ist die Flexibilität, mit der sich die drei Musiker dieses Ensembles vorbehaltlos in den Dienst der Komposition und der Interpretation stellen, die der Leiter vermitteln möchte, mit Eingriffen, die den spezifischen expressiven und emotionalen Dimensionen des einzigartigen Arrangements angemessen sind. Von den ersten Takten der Einleitung und dem Latin-Groove von "It ain't necessarily so" an hat man das Gefühl, es mit einer originellen und soliden Idee zu tun zu haben und nicht mit einer einfachen Nachahmung; das Stück wird in jeder Hinsicht kontinuierlich variiert, bleibt aber immer dem Original treu.

Unter den Liedern des Repertoires ist vielleicht das vom Mainstream am wenigsten beachtete "Who Cares?" (trotz der historischen Version von Bill Evans und einiger neuerer Auftritte in der Popmusik). Wir hören eine entspannte Version, die auch einige unerwartete Einblicke in die Neuinterpretationen des Themas sowie in die Soli bietet: eine ausgezeichnete Darstellung der Qualitäten dieses Trios, das einen Gershwin abwechselnd meditativ und nächtlich, sonnig und rhythmisch wiedergibt, immer offen für eine zeitgenössische Improvisation, die die klassischen Werte, die singbaren Melodien und die zarten Harmonien aufwertet.

Lo straordinario mondo musicale di George Gershwin affiora, ci accarezza, ci stupisce ed infine ci travolge nell’unicità di questa registrazione, in cui Rolff, plasma in una scrittura contemporanea, le canzoni, i musical, il jazz, ed il sound orchestrale che hanno fatto della musica di Gershwin il pilastro su cui è edificato il ‘sound americano’.

La misura della grandezza dell'opera di un compositore è certamente data dalla sua capacità di parlare a generazioni successive di interpreti e di ascoltatori. Massimiliano Rolff con gli arrangiamenti per il suo trio scopre sfaccettature inedite in brani celeberrimi come quelli firmati da George Gershwin ed entrati ormai nel repertorio dell'Età dell'oro della canzone americana. L'album prende in realtà il via dalla sua opera Porgy and Bess, cui è dedicata una specifica, intensa suite, per passare poi a una serie di canzoni singole composte per altri spettacoli ma sopravvissute nell'uso come brani autonomi, tra grandi classici e opportune riscoperte.

Gli arrangiamenti sono scritti dal punto di vista del contrabbassista, e questo strumento rappresenta un po' la cartina di tornasole delle differenze tra tradizione classica europea e musiche della diaspora africana. Il suono del contrabbasso si situa in una parte della gamma tanto decisiva nel jazz come nelle altre musiche nere quanto secondaria o trascurata dalla musica classica occidentale. Sull'esempio del jazz i musicisti della seconda parte del secolo scorso hanno scoperto quale inesauribile produttore di suoni sia il contrabbasso, capace di cantare e lamentarsi, di essere romantico o percussivo, e spesso in questo disco proprio al basso è attribuito il ruolo melodico di esposizione dei temi, a sottolinearne le ampie possibilità. Ma poi il trio in modo naturale e sciolto opera continui scambi di ruolo senza assegnare posizioni fisse di accompagnatore e solista ai musicisti con cui Rolff ha scelto di collaborare. Al piano troviamo il giovanissimo talento Tommaso Perazzo, che per chi non lo conosce ancora sarà una vera scoperta, capace di una prestazione matura ed equilibrata senza inutili sfoggi della sua tecnica scintillante, mentre il batterista Antonio Fusco esprime una concezione batteristica orchestrale e melodica senza perdere di vista la propulsione, anch'essa essenziale per questa musica. Colpisce la flessibilità con cui i tre musicisti in questa rotazione si mettono senza riserve a disposizione della composizione e dell'interpretazione che ne vuol dare il leader, commisurando i loro interventi alla specifica dimensione espressiva ed emotiva del singolo arrangiamento. Fin dalle prime battute dall'introduzione e dal groove latino di Ain't si sente che siamo di fronte a un'idea originale e sostanziosa, non una pura riproposizione: il brano è continuamente variato in tutti i suoi aspetti pur restando sempre fedele all'originale. Tra i brani in repertorio forse quello meno visitato dal mainstream è Who Cares (malgrado la storica versione di Bill Evans e alcune recenti riprese nella pop music). Se ne ascolta una versione spigliata in cui tuttavia si aprono squarci inaspettati anche nelle riletture del tema oltre che negli assoli: un'ottima rappresentazione delle qualità di questo trio, che ricrea un Gershwin ora meditativo e notturno, ora solare e ritmico, sempre aperto ad una improvvisazione contemporanea che ne valorizza i valori classici, le cantabili melodie e le delicate armonie.

Artist(s)

Massimiliano Rolff (double bass)

Massimiliano Rolff's music, founded on a deep knowledge of the jazz tradition combined with a personal taste for composition, has become in recent years a point of reference for many lovers of jazz music in Italy and in Europe. Appreciated composer and refined arranger, Massimiliano Rolff in the last 15 years has played continuously in the best Jazz Clubs and Festivals in Europe, the Americas and Asia, as a leader and alongside some of the most important jazz players on the international scene, releasing eight albums as a leader and dozens as a sideman. He has played in festivals, clubs and theaters and embassies in Italy, Holland, France, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Bulgaria, Israel, Turkey, Argentina, Uruguay, China, Hong Kong, Japan,...
more

Massimiliano Rolff's music, founded on a deep knowledge of the jazz tradition combined with a personal taste for composition, has become in recent years a point of reference for many lovers of jazz music in Italy and in Europe.

Appreciated composer and refined arranger, Massimiliano Rolff in the last 15 years has played continuously in the best Jazz Clubs and Festivals in Europe, the Americas and Asia, as a leader and alongside some of the most important jazz players on the international scene, releasing eight albums as a leader and dozens as a sideman. He has played in festivals, clubs and theaters and embassies in Italy, Holland, France, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Bulgaria, Israel, Turkey, Argentina, Uruguay, China, Hong Kong, Japan, USA. Among his collaborations we remember the groups with extraordinary musicians such as Steve Grossman, Scott Hamilton, Jesse Davis, Phil Woods, Dave Schnitter, Perico Sambeat, Eric Legnini, Danny Grissett, Eliot Zigmund, Peter King, Herb Geller, Rachel Gould, Gilad Atzmon. In the italian context Rolff often appears alongside musicians friends such as Dado Moroni, Fabrizio Bosso, Emanuele Cisi, Andrea Pozza, Enzo Zirilli, Andrea Dulbecco, U.T. Gandhi, Paolo Damiani, Flavio Boltro, Gabriele Mirabassi, Tino Tracanna, among others.

Since 2006 he has released 8 albums as a leader and composer, winning many awards, with important feedbacks from audiences and international critics. There are dozens of his appearances as a sideman on as many albums. In 2008 he founded with other musicians the Count Basie Jazz Club in Genoa, and since 2010 he has been a jazz teacher in many Italian Conservatories.


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Composer(s)

George Gershwin

George Gershwin was an American composer, who is mostly known due to his combinations of classical and popular music genres. George Gershwin grew up in a poor neighbourhood in New York. His parents were Russian immigrants who had trouble making ends meet. They did, however, decide to purchase an old piano so Ira Gershwin could study to become a musician. Yet, it turned out not Ira, but his younger brother George showed remarkable talent. Ira applied himself to writing song lyrics and together the Gershwin brothers became absolute greats in the world of 20th century musicals. Nowadays, George's compositions are still relevant, as is evidenced by the many performances of his Rhapsody in Blue from 1924. But the best example is the ageless Summtertime,...
more

George Gershwin was an American composer, who is mostly known due to his combinations of classical and popular music genres.

George Gershwin grew up in a poor neighbourhood in New York. His parents were Russian immigrants who had trouble making ends meet. They did, however, decide to purchase an old piano so Ira Gershwin could study to become a musician. Yet, it turned out not Ira, but his younger brother George showed remarkable talent. Ira applied himself to writing song lyrics and together the Gershwin brothers became absolute greats in the world of 20th century musicals. Nowadays, George's compositions are still relevant, as is evidenced by the many performances of his Rhapsody in Blue from 1924. But the best example is the ageless Summtertime, which has been covered a countless number of times by a countless number of artists.


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Press

What is striking is the flexibility with which the three musicians place themselves unreservedly at the disposal of the composition and the interpretation that the conductor wishes to convey.
FranceMusique, 08-12-2021

It has become a tasteful potpourri in which some refined and without spectacle highlights from the aforementioned opera are strung together.
Jazzflits, 06-12-2021

Japanese review
Japan Jazz, 02-12-2021

The originals are very strong in themselves, but of course also widely known and that makes this CD so surprising and admirable, Rolff and his buddies know how to create a whole new musical world with their performance of these classics, listen and shiver!
Rootstime, 11-11-2021

Play album Play album
01.
Suite from Porgy and Bess: It ain’t necessarily so
03:25
(George Gershwin) Antonio Fusco, Tommaso Perrazo, Massimiliano Rolff
02.
Suite from Porgy and Bess: Bess, you is my woman
06:53
(George Gershwin) Antonio Fusco, Tommaso Perrazo, Massimiliano Rolff
03.
Suite from Porgy and Bess: I loves you Porgy
04:38
(George Gershwin) Antonio Fusco, Tommaso Perrazo, Massimiliano Rolff
04.
Suite from Porgy and Bess: There’s a boat that’s leavin’ soon for New York
04:19
(George Gershwin) Antonio Fusco, Tommaso Perrazo, Massimiliano Rolff
05.
Suite from Porgy and Bess: My man's gone now
04:17
(George Gershwin) Antonio Fusco, Tommaso Perrazo, Massimiliano Rolff
06.
Suite from Porgy and Bess: Summertime
04:40
(George Gershwin) Antonio Fusco, Tommaso Perrazo, Massimiliano Rolff
07.
A Foggy Day
05:47
(George Gershwin) Antonio Fusco, Tommaso Perrazo, Massimiliano Rolff
08.
Love Walked In
04:50
(George Gershwin) Antonio Fusco, Tommaso Perrazo, Massimiliano Rolff
09.
Who Cares?
04:35
(George Gershwin) Antonio Fusco, Tommaso Perrazo, Massimiliano Rolff
10.
The Man I Love
04:55
(George Gershwin) Antonio Fusco, Tommaso Perrazo, Massimiliano Rolff
11.
How Long Has This Been Going On?
04:23
(George Gershwin) Antonio Fusco, Tommaso Perrazo, Massimiliano Rolff
12.
Someone to Watch Over Me
02:43
(George Gershwin) Antonio Fusco, Tommaso Perrazo, Massimiliano Rolff
13.
But Not For Me
03:43
(George Gershwin) Antonio Fusco, Tommaso Perrazo, Massimiliano Rolff
14.
Embrecable You
04:06
(George Gershwin) Antonio Fusco, Tommaso Perrazo, Massimiliano Rolff
show all tracks

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