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Mazzu-Troja-Branciamore: Broad-ways

- CD Reviews

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Mazzù-Troja-Branciamore: Broad-ways
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2009: ACK Records

Giancarlo Mazzù on Guitar
Luciano Troja on Piano
Francesco Branciamore on Drums

Produced by ACK Records, Siracusa, Italy
Graphic Project: Walter
Recorded and Mixed at Sonoria Studios, Scordia
Sound Engineer: Vincenzo Cavalli
Traduzione: Erica La Fauci

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 25, 2018

This CD is an exceptional selection of renowned Broadway tunes, with longtime music partners, Luciano Troja on piano, and Giancarlo Mazzù on guitar. This seasoned duo invited Francesco Branciamore, to make it a trio, on drums. Luciano and Giancarlo, from Messina, Sicily, have been favorably reviewed on these pages, both in recordings and in live New York jazz events. Luciano and Giancarlo have long been dedicated to the sounds of early American jazz standards, and this Broad-ways album showcases the crème de la crème of those standards; the music of Jerome Kern (with Otto Harbach and with Dorothy Fields), Arthur Schwartz with Howard Dietz, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and Johnny Mercer. One track, “A Fine Romance”, adds an audio clip from the 1936, Astaire-Rogers film, Swing Time, music composed by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields. Their “The Way You Look Tonight” is also included in this album.

Within each captivating and spellbinding track, either piano, guitar, or drums open the song, and then the musical surprises flow. One ballad, Cole Porter’s “I Concentrate on You”, was so vividly poignant and endearing, that I was compelled to listen to it three times, initially, again later. In addition to the comments above and four featured tracks below, Broad-ways includes a two-track interpretation of the Kern-Harbach, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”, as well as more songs by Irving Berlin, “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” and “Cheek to Cheek”. Cole Porter is further represented with “Begin the Beguine”, “Night and Day”, and “All of You”, while Johnny Mercer’s “Something’s Got to Give” completes this fantastic, very Broadway, tribute album.

Notable tracks:

#2 – Puttin’ On the Ritz – Composed by Irving Berlin. Giancarlo’s jazzy guitar refrains imbue this track with echoes of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. As soon as the trio begins, with Giancarlo and Luciano on guitar and piano, leading the theme, and Francesco adding rhythmic, percussive effects, you just want that line of tap dancers to float across the stage, arms up, exuding verve and vivacity. This is surely also a great swing tune, for couples at home or on the dance floor. Dance studios, take note.

#6 – I Concentrate on You – Composed by Cole Porter. This mesmerizing and heartrending track highlights the extraordinary talents of Giancarlo Mazzù and Luciano Troja, with shifting solos that expand each note endlessly and evocatively. Their thematic, lyrical performance grabs the mood of these American ballads, and who could be more “apple pie” than the Indiana-born, Cole Porter. Francesco added lovely, rhythmic percussive support.

#8 – Change Partners – Composed by Irving Berlin. With a classically infused piano-guitar introduction, the musicians lead the listener in, with enchanting, oft-atonal phrasing. Most interesting, this is the only track where you might not recognize the ballad, as the trio takes generous improvisational liberties and fills the music with gusto. Some Bach, some Django, but all unique. This track will have you on your feet, moving to the contagious rhythms.

#12 – Dancing in the Dark – Composed by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz. Speaking of moving on your feet, the sumptuously gorgeous track, “Dancing in the Dark”, is made for American jazz aficionados who love to swoon. The piano-guitar duets, once again, are stunning and serene, with numerous, fresh interpretations. The Luciano-Giancarlo-Francesco trio of top Italian jazz musicians brings this impressive sound right into your home. I will listen to this album frequently.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at