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November 2006

Alessandro Lanzoni
I Should Care
Philology

The best-known Italian jazz prodigy is alto saxophonist Francesco Cafiso, now a man of the world at 17. Coming up behind him is 14-year-old pianist Alessandro Lanzoni. He shares with Cafiso spooky chops and a mainstream/traditionalist orientation in repertoire and style. But whereas Cafiso is all about speed and fireworks (and a drop-dead-gorgeous instrumental sound), Lanzoni offers understated, fully articulate, interesting interpretive slants on great songs.

With patient, poetic bassist Ares Tavolazzi, Lanzoni unwinds intelligently detailed designs upon such foundations as “I Got It Bad” and “Caravan” and “Scrapple From the Apple.” What Lanzoni does with “Stella by Starlight” is remarkable in its gradual revelation of complex feeling and mood, unbroken over eight minutes. There are two takes each of “Here’s That Rainy Day” and “I Should Care.” They reveal, among many other things, that Lanzoni is an authentic improviser. Within these two pairs of elucidations, virtually every decision is different.

There is an add-on live track with Francesco Cafiso. The sound is marginal, but these two bad boys have their way with “Just Friends.” In nine minutes, they lay it bare and wring it out.

Alessandro Lanzoni: You heard it here first.

Originally published in November 2006
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