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Francesco Crosara: Circular Motion

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Francesco Crosara in 2021 photographed by Julia Crosara

What constitutes interpretation of a musical composition? Surely every artist worthy of his [or her] name seeks to internalise the message of the music he [or she] chooses to perform in hopes of sharing a unique perspective with the audience. In the best of cases, that perspective is highly individual, shaped by a myriad of factors, including age, physique, training, culture, imagination, curiosity, and life experience, among countless others.

Certainly, the best music invites a variety of approaches and – in the case of jazz, on any given day – one stellar one that pierces through the audience’s imagination. In the case of the repertoire on Circular Motion by the pianist, Francesco Crosara, with the continuing fascination and continuing revivification of his canon the insights and artistically satisfying experiences can certainly engender such breathtaking responses.

The cover of the CD Circular Motion by Francesco Crosara

Mr Crosara was mentored early by his mother, Lilian Terry, a celebrated television journalist who immersed herself not only in spreading the gospel of jazz all over Europe, but Ms Terry was also a singer who sought the deep truth of jazz, infused it with her interpretation of the blues and thus won the admiration of such iconic jazz musicians as Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, and Abbey Lincoln to name just a few. Mr Crosara also won the admiration of Chick Corea for his “wonderful music” and encouraged him to “saturate the world with it.”

And so, five albums later here we are with Circular Motion, a trio-music recording featuring three separate trios. With each of the trios Mr Crosara continues to ring in the changes in mood, structure, and tempo, making for a constantly interesting and invigorating programme. The considerable degree of balance and integration of melody, harmony, and rhythm, of composition and improvisation, of exploration, individuality and [above all] tradition is impressively maintained throughout the programme, which ripples and enthralls with mystery and excitement.

Quite how Mr Crosara manages to effect such a perfect blend of technicality in composition and imagination in improvisational flights is a testament to his prowess as both composer and interpreter. In his artist’s mind he has also travelled widely: to Andalusia, for instance, where he indulges the senses in a vividly dancing Preludio Flamenco, to Argentina where he imagines the sensuous Julia’s Tango [a homage to his wife, a superb painter. His interpretation of Gymnopedie Nº 4 by Erik Satie is miraculous.

In terms of cultural heritage, Mr Crosara has the best of Italy and North Africa, his mother being partly of Egyptian descent. This shows in the occasional hints of wonderful melodic ululations native to Egyptian motifs that come from Phrygian modes, and the resonating rhythms of the belly-dance in Maktoub. Also, being widely travelled he lets his imagination also reflect the influences of the cultural topography of Japan in Kurama.

The performers – bassists Clipper Anderson, Farko Dosumov and Osama Afifi and drummers Mark Ivester, D’Vonne Lewis, and Xavier LeCouturier – who come to the party have deeply internalised this music and thus interpret Mr Crosara’s work with idiomatic grace, adding power and prestige to the music. With such auspicious conditions prevailing, it’s no wonder that this recording is resonates with the mind and body.

Deo gratis…

Music – 1: Preludio Flamenco; 2: Longing; 3: Julia’s Tango; 4: Gymnopedie Nº 4; 5: Circular Motion; 6: Kurama; 7: Passion; 8: Maktoub; 9: One Day Honey, One Day Onions; 10: Sarava.

Musicians – Francesco Crosara: concert grand piano and synthesizer; Clipper Anderson: contrabass [2, 4, 5, 8]; Farko Dosumov: electric bass [1, 3, 7, 9]; Osama Afifi: electric bass [6, 10]; Mark Ivester: drums [2, 4, 5, 8]; D’Vonne Lewis: drums [1, 3, 7, 9]; Xavier LeCouturier: drums [6, 10].

Released – 2024
Label – OA2 Records
[originarts.com]
Runtime – 1:12:23

Based in Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

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