July 13, 2024


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A book inside jazz. Rodolfo Cervetto: The sounds of life. three stories about jazz: Video, Photos

“Almost everyone has had their chance with jazz. Almost everyone, by choice or by chance, has come across a concert or a record, obtaining impressions ranging from proactive curiosity, a vague skin pleasure or disinterest.

Someone has reported intolerance, but no specific clinical findings have emerged to confirm it. I happened to encounter jazz through a film, “Round Midnight” by Bertrand Tavernier from 1986, a paraphrase of Bud Powell’s story in 1950s Paris, played by Dexter Gordon. And since then, I was 25 years old, this music has become an almost daily travel companion on a journey, still ongoing, through time and places, in search of stories, characters and emotions.”

I apologize in advance for the self-quotation, but the outing of the writer of these lines seemed to me to be in particular harmony with the spirit that pervades “The Sounds of Life”, the book by Rodolfo “Rudy” Cervetto, an established jazz drummer for over a twenty years, tireless animator of the Genoese cultural scene, where he presides over the historic Louisiana club, and driving force behind a thousand initiatives also in the teaching and educational field.

In the first of the three stories about jazz that make up the work, illustrated by the evocative drawings of Patrizio Colotto and introduced by Riccardo Bertoncelli, a father passionate about jazz tries to involve his recalcitrant son with these words: “Let’s make sure that tomorrow you become passionate about a musician and you start reading and listening to everything about him. Inevitably, if you dig into his story and his music, you will find many connections with other musicians.

Not only will you discover connections with photographers, journalists, dancers, sound engineers, drivers, This is jazz. A music that is intertwined with life.” It seems like a description of mine, our passion and the endless journey mentioned at the beginning. It is the story of a passion, therefore, which does not discriminate between the role of the musician and that of the enthusiast, of those who listen or perhaps go so far as to attempt to tell that world: in the author’s gaze, who is above and who is in front of the stage is involved in the same path towards the transmission of emotions, a path that can even do without words and is fueled by understandings transmitted with a look or a smile. A “people” equipped with an extraordinarily effective weapon to also share social demands, collective feelings, reactions to the world around us.

Cervetto articulates this vision by mixing reality and fiction, real characters and eras of jazz history and fantasy enthusiasts, bearers of that spark of passion that the musician’s intentions would like to unleash in the souls of young and inexperienced readers. It is also the intention of the drummer Owen who, having reached the end of a long career and lost his life partner, organizes a “last concert” dedicated to the music of Art Blackey and the Jazz Messengers for an audience of young people aged between 18 and 25 years old.

Throwing a symbolic baton to one of them to continue the story in his own way. All three stories are also crossed by a melancholy vein which tells, starting from the decline of the protagonist musicians, the difficulties, the dependencies, the often precarious and fluctuating conditions of those who have chosen to live with jazz.

“Birdland 1953” alludes to a hypothetical sliding door for the life of Charlie Parker, who, almost a hundred years old, is rediscovered by an old enthusiast, in the footsteps of a dialogue started years earlier by his father, who, in turn, tells the son the reasons for that love; “The Last Concerto” vividly describes the relationships on stage between the musicians of an imaginary band, but with names that recall those of real musicians, and the emotional current that exists with the young audience; “A story to tell” is that of trumpeter Red, who went from the relative glory of the ranks of famous Big Bands to the revival of swing, up to a destiny as a busker, always accompanied by his music.

“The sounds of life” is an anomalous book in the wide contemporary production on jazz. Indeed it is a book “inside” jazz, in which the Ligurian drummer tries to give shape and explanation, using words rather than sticks, to that feeling that often leads musicians or even the public to share a hug at the end of a successful concert.

As we close these lines, we know that Rudy will be, like many other evenings, on a stage behind the snare drum of his Soprano, in search of that moment of magic that dilates and crystallizes time, which “can only happen and be perceived if you creates together with another person, in a collective dimension.” Like when Owen’s band performs “I remember Clifford” and the audience is all on their feet. We sincerely hope that it happens.

Rodolfo Cervetto (drums) with Andrea Paganetto (trumpet), Maurizio Brunod (guitar) and Marco Bellafiore (double bass)

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