Tuesday, August 8, 2017

"Grazie!" - Marco, Enzo, Lorenzo and Matteo

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

By way of background Marco Pacassoni graduated cum laude from the Conservatorio Statale di Musica "Gioachino Rossini"  a music conservatory in Pesaro, Italy and with the same distinction in Professional Music from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA

In the broadest sense of the term, Marco is a percussionist with a particular emphasis on mallets.

He has studied with Gary Burton, Ed Saindon, Victor Mendoza, Daniele Di Gregorio, Eguie Castrillo, John Ramsey, Steve Wilkes.

In 2005 Marco won the award of the best Italian Jazz talent at "Chicco Bettinardi Competition" organized by Piacenza Jazz Festival.

Marco has been played with Michel Camilo, Alex Acuna, Horacio "el negro" Hernandez, Steve Smith, John Beck, Amik Guerra, Trent Austin, Italuba, Gerrison Fewell, Chihiro Yamanaka, Partido Latino, Bungaro, Malika Ayane, Raphael Gualazzi, Luca Barbarossa, Francesco Cafiso, Massimo Manzi, Marco Volpe, Massimo Moriconi, Filippo Lattanzi, Daniele Di Gregorio, Alessandro Ristori, Paolo Belli, Luca Colombo, Cesare Chiodo and many others...

Marco is on the percussion faculty at Liceo Musicale Rinaldini in Ancona and at Urbino University which provides for “Italian Semesters” for students from University of Texas, San Antonio.

Marco has taught Master Classes of Vibraphone at prestigious american colleges such as Oberlin Conservatory (Ohio), University of Minneapolis (Minnesota), Eastman School of Music (Rochester), Columbus University (Ohio), Cleveland University (Ohio). In 2014 Marco’s book on harmony and composition book was published by Rodaviva Edizioni.

Marco leads his own quartet whose members are Enzo Bocciero, piano and keyboards, Lorenzo De Angeli, semi-acoustic bass and Matteo Pantaleoni, drums.

They have released a number of CDs the most recent of which is entitled Grazie [2016]. You can located order information about Grazie and the group’s other CDs via this website: www.marcopacassoni.com. Some of the Marco Pacassoni Quartet’s earlier CDs are also available through Amazon.

Grazie is comprised of ten original tracks: five by Marco and five that were penned by Enzo Bocciero, who also wrote the insert notes for the disc. The recording is an homage to Marco’s late father and is intended as an appreciation for his father’s efforts to assist him with a career in music.
In many ways the music on this CD is exactly the way you would expect to hear Jazz at the outset of the 21st century. Even the fact that the musicians who made this music are based in Italy is not surprising because of Jazz’s international expansion since its inception a hundred years ago.
The music on Grazie is contemporary and very reflective of the one world influences made possible today by social networking and the instant connectivity of the digital transmission of information brought about by the world wide web.

Marco, Enzo, Lorenzo and Matteo have taken the Jazz influences from the music’s 20th century forms and combined it with how they hear the music today. Compositional structure and the basic forms of melody, harmony and rhythm remain essentially the same but the musicians have added their own textures and their own unique styles of improvisation.

Modal Jazz, irregular tempos, “complex rhythmic-harmonic weaves,” counter-melodies, riffs, and a host of other elements common to modern or mainstream Jazz are applied to new stylistic influences to create wholly different sonorities.

So while you know upon listening that the music on Grazie is Jazz, you’ve never heard it played in this manner before.

What is apparent throughout the recording is the very high level of musicianship on display. Marco, Enzo, Lorenzo and Matteo are all accomplished individual musicians who also perform very well as a group.

The "Grazie" or "Thank You" in the title of this piece also has a personal connotation for me in that listening to the music of the Marco Pacassoni Quartet helped move my ears in new directions.

All too often, those of us who evolved with the music from previous periods in its development know where Jazz has been and we get comfortable within these established forms of the music.

Yet, Jazz has always grown and developed, in today's parlance, it has morphed into new forms by incorporating new and different influences. Young musicians are particularly receptive and willing to try new approaches. So, in this regard, my thanks to Marco, Enzo, Lorenzo and Matteo for helping me keep current in the music.

I found Grazie to be a very rewarding musical experience. See what you think by listening to the following audio only file that features the group’s performance of Violet Wall, the opening track on the CD.

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