If virtue and fame went hand in hand, Giancarlo Mazzù (guitar) Luciano Troja (piano) would be much better known worldwide, for they are masters of play — of playful improvising that respects the original melody, harmonic structure, and rhythmic impulses while at the same time exploring, experimenting, and inquiring within and without.
Here’s a sample of their enthusiastic, graceful music — improvisations on ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE, recorded in London in June 2012:
I first encountered and admired this duo about four years ago, when I was sent a copy of their CD — SEVEN TALES ABOUT STANDARDS — to review for CADENCE.
Here’s some of what I wrote: The duets between guitarist Mazzu and pianist Troja made me sit up straight in my chair. Inventive, probing, and winding lines are traded back and forth with lightness and wit. I would have thought that “Bye Bye Blackbird” had long since flown off, but this CD shows that there’s life in it. I was occasionally reminded of Jimmy Rowles and Joe Pass, but these players are outstandingly adventurous, intertwining yet never overriding one another. This CD duet should be required listening for improvisers of all persuasions.
You can hear more of their inspired music here.
But even better: you can see Giancarlo and Luciano improvise soulfully in person in New York City on Monday, April 29, 2013 — a concert beginning at 6 PM at New York University’s Casa Italiana, 24 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10011. It’s free and open to the public. Details here.
May your happiness increase.