Skip to main content
Hit Couleurs JAZZ

Following on from — among others —”Round about Roma” and “Morricone Stories”, Stefano Di Battista once again brings us a truly Italianissimo album.

Alternating between film soundtrack themes such as the album’s eponymous title track, “Amarcord“, or “La Vita è Bella“, and hit songs such as “Volare“, “Una Lacrima Sul Viso” or “Con te Partiro”, he immerses us in a bath of enchanting melodies that are magnified by his usual lyricism.

In quartet or in a Franco-Italian quintet (completed by Matteo Cutello, an excellent trumpeter whom I didn’t know — Italy is clearly a land of predilection for the instrument: Rava, Fresu, Boltro, Bosso, Falzone… won’t deny it), featuring Fred Nardin, Daniele Sorrentino and André Ceccarelli, who displays a magnificent accompaniment essentially on brushes, Di Battista takes his alto and soprano with elegance and an enthusiastic casualness on tasty melodies that lend themselves perfectly to jazz treatment.

Indeed, unlike jazzmen in France, who often shun the French chanson repertoire, the Italians were quick to realize that many of their songs were just waiting to be given a swinging treatment and become vehicles for improvisation.

It has to be said that the Boot is overflowing with musicians originally trained in bandas (local bands), where various musical styles rub shoulders: opera arias, popular music, themes from American musicals…

Melody is therefore king among them, and the approach to jazz of Italian instrumentalists’ is generally more lyrical and less “intellectual” than elsewhere. Di Battista, who knows the Italian repertoire and American standards like the back of his hand, is well placed to bring Italian song and film music together with jazz, having as well played alongside the likes of Enrico Rava and Elvin Jones. What’s more, the Roman saxophonist possesses a warm, fruity tone — one of the finest available on the soprano — and a melodic imagination that make his solos little gems of sound. Although he is the main soloist here on the quartet tracks, Fred Nardin’s accompaniment is constantly rhythmically and harmonically inventive. As for Matteo Cutello, who appears on a few tracks, he’s a real revelation who we can’t wait to hear in other contexts.

Relax and enjoy this transalpine disc: life is sweet and beautiful!

Line Up:

Stefano Di Battista: saxophone

Matteo Cutello: trumpet

Fred Nardin: piano

Daniele Sorrentino: double bass

André Ceccarelli: drums

La Dolce Vita was released by the label Warner Music on May 3, 2024. It is “Hit Couleurs Jazz” and belongs to the “Best Of du Mois” selection for May 2024, on Couleurs Jazz Radio.

©Photo Header : Cicco di Francesco.


Leave a Reply