CD review: Francesco Manfredi & Jazz Friends – Promenade Bechet 2020: Video, CD cover

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“It’s about old-fashioned music, it’s certainly an anachronistic musical project. But on the other hand this was my idea, this was my desire, and surely this is the “non-classical” music that I am able to play right now. But this is also the music that I always like! And therefore, it’s fine even if it’s not modern music».

In a post on Facebook, published on February 22, Francesco Manfredi presented his first musical project (with great satisfaction and a pinch of pride) (conceived, designed and completely self-produced, with the support of “Jazz, Friends” ): it is “Promenade Bechet”, a tribute to Sidney Bechet, a record, but even more a project that Manfredi himself defines as “philological”.

The CD, released on March 19, is on sale for € 10.00 at “Il Papiro” (in Cassano delle Murge in via Capitan Galietti, 22), the “CIM – Centro d’Incontro Musicale” (in the Cassano offices). in via Marconi and Sannicandro di Bari), the “Bass Flow – Musical instruments and accessories” (in Santeramo in Colle in via Ferorelli, 8) and “Art and Music” (in Matera in Piazza Sedile, 21): «it is a a slightly cultural as well as a musical project – explains Francesco Manfredi – dedicated to a jazz musician, clarinet player, who later became a New Orleans saxophonist, Sidney Bechet, who took his first steps in the early decades of the 1900s».

An “anachronistic” idea, therefore, in a musical world that continues to experiment and innovate, but Francesco Manfredi remains “faithful” to his studies, to his musical tastes, to his passion: «Bechet – he says – was perhaps the first clarinet player of hot jazz, traditional jazz, which I as a student of the Conservatory have listened to».

The same studies and the same passion that allowed Manfredi to build a musical career already of the highest level: he studied clarinet at the Bari Conservatory and never left the Cassanese musical association “Santa Maria degli Angeli” (of which he was also vice-president) which allowed him to deepen his studies in parallel with the “classic” ones. Then the work as first clarinet in the Petruzzelli Lyric-Symphonic Foundation up to the well-known events that forced many musicians to lay off.

Francesco Manfredi wanted to continue on the path traced by his studies, giving shape to this project: «I had to embark on a career as a” self-employed “, rearranged ideas and found new stimuli. After a lifetime of classical studies, years of professional activity at fairly high levels, when you find yourself not doing it anymore you start asking questions. The only thing that allowed me to find stimuli, to continue studying every day was to change language and change my mind to think about music. I decided to seriously deepen the study of jazz. I studied in France, with a clarinet player who helped me a lot: I could have studied with any high level jazz musician, as there are many here too (see Gaetano Partipilo, who is also a childhood friend), but I was looking for a clarinet player , a true clarinetist who could play the clarinet with me and I found it in France: for a year, I spent two days of lessons every month. This experience has cleared up many ideas for me. Then I continued to study here: I took a course with Gaetano Partipilo at the Teatro Teatro. And I perfected myself a little.”

Up to the point of maturing, in the last four to five years, the idea of ​​creating an autonomous project, dedicated to the musician-clarinetist “who inspired me most in the course of my growth path. I feel I can have my say in the world of traditional jazz (classic, non-modern and avant-garde) because I play the clarinet (an instrument present in traditional jazz, the main instrument and if we want to be indispensable) and because over the years it is the music that most has me excited and inspired. And also because I am able to put into practice the study I have done and continue to do».

Sidney Bechet: “Promenade Bechet”, as the title says, is a walk in Sidney Bechet’s career. The disc contains twelve tracks plus two bonus tracks: a musical, cultural and historical project that traces, through music, the life of Bechet almost in chronological order with pieces by the Creole clarinet player (“Bechet’s Fantasy”, “Petit Fleur”, “Spreadin ‘Joy “,” Promenade aux Champs-Elysees “,” Dans la rue d’Antibes “,” Si tu vois ma mère “) and songs that have marked his career (” Roses of Picardy “by H. Wood,” Blues my naughty sweetie gives to me “by C. McGarron,” The song of songs “by H. Vicars,” Summertime “by G. Gershwin,” Ode to Bechet “by B. Wilder) and” At the Jazz Band Ball “by ‘Original Dixieland Jazz Band) recorded in a live session at the “Pentagram” of Bari and in the studio at an auditorium in Cisternino.

«I would like this project to talk about Sidney Bechet also to people not used to this genre. If we listen to Bechet – explains Manfredi – in his recordings, in his works, it has a very strong impact on the listener because he played with an incredible vibrato, with a style of his own that was brand new at the time. Improvisation is the centerpiece of jazz and its improvisational style was new: it mixed total improvisation with hints on the theme. So I wanted to do a job that respected the style of this musician and the bands of the time.”

To do this, Manfredi also had to do painstaking work in the choice of instruments and the band: hot jazz bands were almost always a sextet (with the rhythmic section formed by drums, piano or guitar and double bass or bass tuba and a section of wind instruments formed by clarinet, trumpet and trombone). In “Promenade Bechet”, however, we have a quintet with some “innovations”: the guitar and benjo by Michele Biancofiore, the trumpet by Mino Lacirignola, the tuba by Alessio Anzivino and the drums by Michele Fracchiolla.

And just Anzivino and Fracchiolla are two other Cassanese talents that Manfredi strongly wanted in his project: «Alessio Anzivino, besides being a friend, is certainly one of the greatest Apulian tubists. Michele Fracchiolla has done a great deal of research on the way of playing jazz musicians of the time and studying the composition of the drums, also using a vintage drums”.

Alessio Anzivino: “I’ve known Francesco for a lifetime – says Alessio Anzivino – since the days of the” Santa Maria degli Angeli “Music Association. An important stage of growth and formation in my journey, of which Francesco was a pillar. We have shared a thousand musical experiences and we play traditional jazz together, in small formations, around Puglia and beyond, from the first moment I took my tuba in hand. Francesco has always had an innate talent that, in a moment of change in his career and life, has decided to grow in the direction of “ancient” jazz and his dreams. After years of wonderful experiences, he decided to give life to this project, involving the people who have always accompanied his journey in the field of traditional jazz. The call to a musical project I mean as a call for the World Cup: you are chosen to give the best for you and, above all, for the team. Seeing a dream come true is always beautiful, being part of it, together with great musicians, is a serendipal happiness. Playing Bechet is something that forces you to think about the origins, to study and learn to be essential. Participating in this project was a way of being able to get involved, trying to bring out the energy and transport of the Music of that period and give voice to Francesco’s musical idea. It was a way to produce a tangible track, in the hope of giving emotions, together with friends who have been part of my journey made of notes».

Michele Fracchiolla: “Francesco proposed this idea to me while we were recording a record with the Petruzzelli Swing Orchestra – adds Michele Fracchiolla – and for me playing with him is always a pleasure, for his professionalism, his seriousness, his great passion for music, and it is precisely the desire to make music that unites us and has always united us. I immediately accepted the proposal to collaborate on the “Promenade Bechet” project, considering my passion for traditional swing from the 20s. I have been studying this genre for several years, both on an interpretative and stylistic level. The search for the sound and the instruments themselves fascinates me a lot: the same happened through the study of books and looking for well-known and also little-known drummers on the web who were important in the development of traditional swing. The study of the instruments used to understand their sounds and the materials with which they were built at the time was also fundamental. In a period in which current music has a “flavor” of electronics, of effects that change the true sounds of an instrument, we wanted to savor the natural vibrations of the instruments. In my case, the natural element of poplar, the material with which the drums were built in that period, gave an added value to the beauty of the sounds. I thank Francesco and the other splendid, highly professional musicians for sharing and contributing to the realization of this fantastic “Promenade Bechet” project».

Francesco Manfredi and his band are already carrying “Promenade Bechet” around with very participated and highly successful concerts, with the hope of being able to play it also in Cassano delle Murge, perhaps in one of the squares of the historic center. Then you can think about the future: «I still have a lot to do, the road ahead is still long in the world of traditional jazz. I am a perfectionist and I am very self-critical: my relationship with music, with the instrument, is almost visceral. I always look for perfection. I want to continue playing the clarinet, possibly better. Although young musicians, we are still tied to classic, traditional jazz. Simply because we like it and I have always wanted to make the music I like to do. I have a lot to improve on this genre but I think I can have my say.”

What is certain, for now, is that the Cassanese music scene can be enriched with an additional flagship. Traditional sounds capable of making you dream and give those emotions that only music can give.

01.Roses Of Picardy (3:10)
02.Bluse My Naughty Sweetie Gives To Me (4:36)
03.The Song Of Songs (2:55)
04.Summertime (4:35)
05.Bechet’s Fantasy (6:14)
06.Petit Fleur (3:12)
07.Ode To Bechet (3:41)
08.Spreadin’Joy (1:50)
09.Promenade Aux Champs-Elysees (4:23)
10.Dans Le Rue D’antides (4:03)
11.Si Tu Vois Ma Mere (3:45)
12.At The Jazz Band Ball (3:46)
13.Promenade Aux Champs-Elysees (Live) (4:13)
14.Bechet’s Fantasy (Studio Version) (6:07)

Francesco Manfredi – clarinet
Michele Biancofiore – guitar and benjo
Mino Lacirignola – trumpet
Alessio Lanzivino – tuba
Michele Fracchiolla – drums

Promenade Bechet — Mino Lacirignola, Francesco Manfredi, Michele  Fracchiolla, Alessio Lanzivino, Michele Biancofiore. Слушать онлайн на  Яндекс.Музыке

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