A very keen music fan, record collector and dj, Gerardo Frisina, together with the founders of Ishtar, Luciano Cantone and Davide Rosa, sketched the guidelines of the artistic evolution in this record company. His figure is of fundamental importance for Ishtar’s history and is a point of reference that the entire Italian jazz scene cannot disregard. His first contributions to Ishtar saw Gerardo in the role of producer.
His very first project was the production of “Neos” in ‘97, conceived with Bruno Bolla and Gianni Bedori, and stemming from the desire to re-propose the works of famous artists deeply rooted in the Latin/Brazilian and jazz sound, trying to reveal the most obscure aspects of those sounds. In the same year also the series “Up” and “Metti Una Bossa A Cena” came out, becoming of cult status among the collectors of the genre: while the first set of productions has brought back to light some “forgotten” reinterpretations of artists such as The Paris Studio Group, Edda Dell’Orso and Expo 80, instead the two editions of “Metti Una Bossa A Cena” have introduced some Brazilian pieces by Italian artists of the calibre of Piero Piccioni, Ennio Morricone, Armando Trovajoli, Alessando Alessandroni, Franco Micalizzi, Romano Mussolini. This is a homage to Bossa Nova by the greatest Italian composers of from the past.
In 1998 while still in his activity as producer for Ishtar, Gerardo Frisina coordinated the reissues of “Crossfire” and “Yuxtaposición” by The Cabildo’s Three. These two productions, blended with psychedelic, samba and Afro Cuban rhythms, were aimed at exploring the world of the library music and of the soundtracks. Until that time, this music had only been heard in office backgrounds, TV commercials and movie soundtracks and it couldn’t be found easily in the record shops. These compositions were finally “set free” thanks to the interest of this passionate intender, collector and music lover. But Gerardo’s main contribution as a producer was the spreading of the international sound by the Clarke-Boland Big Band, one of the most noteworthy jazz big bands formed thanks to the idea of Cologne-based producer Gigi Campi and composed of American and European jazz leaders such as Kenny Clarke, Benny Bailey, Francy Boland, Sahib Shihab, and Ronnie Scott. From this initial impulse Rearward label was founded, with the purpose of re-releasing the most part of the Campi-Cawoo catalogue. An important space was then given both to the old jazz masterpieces from the Sixties and to the contemporary ones.