Composer, arranger and pianist Jay D'Amico, who made a strong impact on the jazz scene with his release of Ponte Novello in 2001, has returned to the inspirations of Italy on his new release, Tuscan Prelude. The recording is a further exploration of D'Amico's unique fusion of jazz and classical influences and features eleven original compositions that D'Amico penned during one of his frequent visits to Italy.
Tuscany holds a special place in my heart because of the Renaissance and the timeless art and music that that era has given us, says D'Amico. I've studied both classical and jazz music, and I love them both, he continues, as he explains his approach. At this point in my career, it feels right to combine them in one recording because I feel I've got a strong enough grounding in both to allow my own style to emerge.
Joining D'Amico on Tuscan Prelude are bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Ronnie Zito. D'Amico says that the music on Tuscan Prelude called for a bassist who could execute difficult passages with a bow, and Marc was just amazing with that. Zito, who D'Amico first met when he was pianist in residence at New York's Windows on the World, also collaborated with D'Amico on Ponte Novello. Ronnie is a drummer of great interpretive depth, insight and versatility, adds D'Amico.
Bassist Greg D'Amico (the pianist's brother) and drummer Vinnie Favata appear on the CD's final track, Aria in D. Greg just swings, and Vinnie--who comes out of the Rat Pack era and who played with Sammy Davis, Jr.--has an incredibly sensitive feel on the drums, enthuses D'Amico. I couldn't have made a recording without including them somehow.