Antonio Ciacca: Squazin




Antonio Ciacca (piano)


Rush Life (Motéma MTM-00015)

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Antonio Ciacca (piano),

Joe Magnarelli (trumpet), Stacy Dillard (tenor sax), Kengo Nakamura (bass), Rodney Green (drums)


Composed by Antonio Ciacca


Recorded: New York, January 24-25, 2008


Rating: 93/100 (learn more)

The 39-year-old Ciacca has an interesting résumé. German born, raised in Italy, and classically trained, he took up jazz at age 20 after hearing Wynton Marsalis. Ciacca has worked extensively with both Steve Lacy and Benny Golson, and was the pianist, arranger and producer for the Detroit Gospel Singers. After moving to New York in 2007, he became the Director of Concert and Programming Administration for Jazz at Lincoln Center. "Rush Life" is his fourth CD as leader.

Ciacca's original "Squazin" is dedicated to his associate at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Wynton Marsalis. (Squazin is apparently one of Wynton's nicknames.) This track comes across like a Horace Silver tune as played by Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers. A loping waltz-like rhythm sets up the engaging theme, taken in unison by Dillard's tenor and Magnarelli's trumpet. Dillard solos first with a swaggering, gruff tone and enticing fluid lines, ending on an audaciously swooping run that triggers Magnarelli's entrance. The trumpeter displays a richly glowing tone and submits an expertly paced and enjoyably varied solo. Ciacca's improv shows off his glistening touch and soulfully melodic and lucid phrasing. Drummer Green contributes Blakey-flavored support throughout, with forceful stick work, an insistent cymbal ride, and appropriately placed drum rolls. "Squazin" should get a lot of jazz radio airplay.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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