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Da Qui a Palermo
The Palermo Sketches Multimedia Project

Giancarlo Mazzù on Guitar, Voice
Luciano Troja on Piano
Blaise Siwula on Clarinet, Alto Sax
Rocco J. Iacovone, Soprano Sax and Alto Sax
Denise F. Iacovone, Visual Painting

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 1, 2019

Da Qui a Palermo (Intro to Palermo Sketches), Music by Mazzù, Troja.
Palermo Sketches, Music by Mazzù, Troja, Iacovone, Siwula.
Qui, Music by Troja.

In a mystical and magical performance, once again I had the grand experience of meeting with and listening to the unique compositions of pianist, Luciano Troja and guitarist, Giancarlo Mazzù from Sicily, who were in New York for a series of performances. Tonight’s sold-out concert, at New York University’s Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, evolved from a recent, one-week musical residency in Palermo, in which the ensemble, Luciano, Giancarlo, clarinetist-saxophonist, Blaise Siwula, saxophonist, Rocco Iacovone, with visual artist, Denise Iacovone, collaborated on a recording, The Palermo Sketches.

This concert was a replication of the spontaneous, unrehearsed, live-in-studio recording in Palermo, with the instrumentalists onstage and Ms. Iacovone slightly offstage, creating, before our eyes, a serendipitous painting of her introspective impressions. On the stage backdrop, we also viewed a video-photographic slide show (by 3112HTM feat. Fortyone Pictures) of fragments of Palermo’s architecture, culture, nature, and residents. This was truly a remarkable and memorable experience.

The first segment, by Troja and Mazzù, Da Qui a Palermo, opened with a mysterious guitar and a rhythmic piano introduction, evoking the sound of Fellini scores, marching and slightly atonal. It was designed throughout with depth and detail. A Troja-Mazzù duet included Giancarlo using his guitar for hand percussion as well. Denise’s painting was underway, and the evolving slides of clouds, sea, doorways, and plants in Palermo were transporting.

A jazzy, electric motif followed, dedicated to Mama Iacovone, 109 years-old. Palermo Sketches, by the ensemble, opened in the aisles, as Blaise, on clarinet, and Rocco, on sax, walked toward the stage with staccato, then smooth tonalities. Giancarlo merged his guitar in the moment. Dissonant became dervish, with exotic tones and flourishes. The painting ensued, as well as the creative and photographic visuals, sometimes in motion, sometimes frozen in time. Rocco and Blaise followed with a two-sax duet, complimenting and contrasting. At times the music resembled whispering waves. The merging genres of art, video, and music were mesmerizing, especially from my front row seat with a clear, full view of the stage. Luciano’s bluesy, keyboard intonations were enhanced as Rocco and Blaise switched their instruments mid-music, creating ebullient, upbeat rhythms. The photo fragments became kaleidoscopic, expanding the mesmerizing effects. At one point, the videos switched to shots of legs and feet on sidewalks, coupled with Giancarlo’s hushed, elusive guitar. Then, jazziness developed as rapidly as it had vanished.

The final segment, Qui, by Luciano, was melancholy, ephemeral, filmatic, and urban. As I was absorbed in the moment, I did note, not in any particular order, Giancarlo’s spoken voice solos, as well as his intermittent guitar-hand percussion. Also, Giancarlo’s guitar solo, evoking a folk tune, occurred toward the concert’s finale, followed by Luciano’s tonal waterfalls and atmospheric, foreboding mystery. In a photo below, you can see Denise’s lovely painting, and she invited the audience to create their own impressions. Mine included an impression of white gardenias. Kudos to the musical ensemble, Luciano, Giancarlo, Rocco, and Blaise, to the creator of the photo-video show, to Denise Iacovone, artist, and to Casa Italiana for this lovely evening in The Village. You can check out Casa Italiana’s events through the above link. And, you can see a video of this concert here.

Luciano & Giancarlo Introductions
"Da Qui a Palermo"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Denise Fusco Iacovone
Begins Painting
"Da Qui a Palermo"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Luciano at the Piano
Giancarlo at on the Guitar
"Da Qui a Palermo"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Giancarlo on Voice
Blaise Siwula on Clarinet
"Da Qui a Palermo"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Giancarlo on Guitar
Blaise on Clarinet
"Da Qui a Palermo"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Blaise, Rocco John Iacovone,
& Denise View the Painting
"Da Qui a Palermo"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Luciano, Giancarlo,
Blaise, & Rocco
Greet the Audience
"Da Qui a Palermo"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower

Denise Presents Her Painting
"Da Qui a Palermo"
Courtesy of Roberta Zlokower