Jacopo Ferraza's new album as leader - Fantasia

Updated: May 3


Jacopo Ferrazza is a bass player from Rome who has made ripples in the contemporary Italian music scene. He has played alongside artists including David Liebman, Greg Hutchinson, Camille Bertault, Logan Richardson, Enrico Rava, Enrico Pieranunzi, Paolo Fresu, and many others. His solo project 'Wood Tales' was released in Feb 2021. His new album 'Fantasia' is out on Teal Dreamers Factory. Ferrazza returns as leader with special guests Fabrizio Bosso (High Five Quintet, Spiritual Trio, and more) on trumpet and Marcello Allulli ( Norma ensemble and more) on sax plus Enrico Zanisi on piano, synth and live electronics, Valeria Vantaggio on drums, Allessandro Diodati on vocals and Livia de Romanis on 'cello. Combining modern jazz, chamber music, and electronic music, Ferrazza's dreamlike world is brought to life through considered arrangements and well-worked counterintuitive lines which contrast and weave together in a tapestry of colourful sound. The scope of fantasia is a sequence of disjointed dreams, appearing in an unordered fashion but combining to create a holistic story. Interstellar voyages, synesthetic worlds, and the afterlife theme are also part of 'Fantàsia,' the latter being a topic dear to Jacopo Ferrazza, especially after his release 'Rebirth' (Cam Jazz 2017). 'Fantàsia' is a trick. The track begins with classical piano style - intricate melodic harmonies and gentle vocals telling the story of revelations and a dreamlike state. Then the trumpet explodes into the mood with incredible force. A nightmarish soundscape is painted deftly as the piano rises, creating melodies underneath, striving to make sense of the blaring trumpet line screeching above. A sense of menace and deep awareness pervades the number as the piano and voice eventually rise to the finish—certainly a wake-up track and a terrific opener. 'The Explorers' is rhythmic, percussive with staccato bass lines in the opening before beautifully played cello contrasts with the light, tricky percussion lines, set off by the piano, which rises, falls and underpins the opening and closing. The difference between the beauty of the smooth strings and the percussive piano and drums is stark and dramatic. In the middle section, the piano sings in chord lines, almost creating a swing melody before the rhythm ebbs and the bowed 'cello drifts in, creating a sense of calm beauty again. 'River Theater' begins with a singer telling the story of watching a little light as she walks, then lots of torches seek a flame out on the surface before drifting from the earth. This section works well as a vehicle for Allessandro Diodati's voice. The bass then adds its sonorous voice with plucked notes working a melody over the piano, which then has a solo spot of its own over percussion, and the sense of water tumbling or rocks in shallows is clear. The voice rejoins, and again, its melody flows across the top line as the string and piano swell and back down underneath. The song speaks of the cyclical nature of the earth and time itself. 'Old Souls' is atmospheric, ethereal at times, and almost ghost-like at times, the voice wraith-like, floating over the lines of the instruments. The trumpet rises like a phoenix with fire in its body and energy in its voice, demonstrating the player's perfectly pitched and toned delivery. 'Land Of Time' begins with both strung instruments in duet, their voices blending like two deep-bellied singers, the body of their instruments reverberating with sound. The piano then introduces a beautiful melody over bowed strings, and the track moves onward in an almost classical arrangement. The vocals are powerful in this track. Different sections have different feelings, adding to the sense of constant change, cycling around, and repeating. There is a lovely place where the percussive string plays against the bowed string, and the vocals soar over the top in a completely different melodic line. Stand out. 'La Course' is sad, poignant, and tells of the memories which flit through the mind. It is reflective and meaningful, packed with changes, notions, and creative musical interludes. 'Blue Glow' is a vortex of sound that speaks of time travel and repeated patterns– perhaps like life itself– or others' lives as we are individual yet also part of a whole. Short but attractively layered. 'Step By Step' is an observational number, the lyrics telling of several natural experiences - watching birds fly, water flow, and the warmth of the energy which flows - brought to life by the 'cello in this track, which brings energy and fluidity. A change of tempo brings a slow walking gait, perhaps signifying the changing paces of our lives as we walk step by step. 'The Tree Of Life' begins with baby-like noises and develops through a series of modal changes and exciting links - much in the way we ourselves grow and develop, the colours and layers become ever richer and more diverse. Ferraza takes the listener on a journey that conjures up beautiful, surreal, and occasionally frightening images in this album. He seeks to peel back the layers we protect ourselves and hide among. He uses the acoustic qualities of the double bass, aided by the multi-faceted effects of the synthesizers from Enrico Zanisi, which add specific effects and atmospheres. Valerio Vantaggio's drums hold the music's emotional pulse and introduce changes with various rhythm and intensity changes. Alessandra Diodati proves a capable narrator with her range and vocal changes, which she tones and moulds to fit the atmosphere intended. The 'cello of Livia de Romani provides changes, from pizzicato to deeply emotive bowing and glissandos. Fabrizio Bosso's trumpet adds fire and life to the top lines, and the sax of Marcello Allulli adds a cathartic and energetic layer to the music. This music is different, individually styled, and incredibly creative. His double bass adds narrative and a deep, constant voice to the music pulling the various elements into a cohesive and hugely enjoyable whole. The album explores the shadows of our lives - some of the places we can only discover by looking - and listening- intensely. A magical world is awaiting discovery.

Personnel: Jacopa Ferrazza – double bass, synth

Allessandro Diodati – voice

Enrico Zanisi- Piano synths, live electronics

Livia De Romanis -‘cello

Valerio Vantaggio -drums Guests: Fabrizio Bosso trumpet ( on fantasia and Old Souls) Marcello Allulli - soprano sax ( Tree of Life)

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