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Tommaso Starace – The Power of Three

by Edward F. Nesta
Tommaso Starace - The Power of Three
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The latest release from Tommaso Starace is Tommaso Starace – The Power of Three and it is one of Tommaso’s best. The release was recorded in a large open venue without the use of headphones, which allowed the band to hear and feel the raw energy they were crafting. The ‘a cappella’ type setting created a big resonant sound that cascades throughout the release. The band takes the baseline of 7 covers and then projects their own feel and music sense to create renditions that will have you touting the release with other music aficionados.


Tommaso Starace – The Power of Three

The Power of Three: Lighting Up The Candles, Del Sasser, This Here, Got A Match?, Nina, Once Upon a Time in America, Brazilian Like, Segment, Napule é

Personnel: Tommaso Starace: alto and soprano saxophones, Jim Watson: piano, Laurence Cottle: bass

Tommaso Starace – The Power of Three was recorded at Chapel Arts Gallery in Cheltenham, UK and released on Music Center. The choice of venue for the recording session allowed the instruments "a big resonant sound and a more ‘a cappella’ style," which is opposite of the result if recorded in a studio setting that tends to produce a drier sound requiring enhancement through the mixing process.

The release contains tracks from various genres, different composers, music from past to present, and an original track, Nina, from Tommaso Starace.

The release opens with the beautiful track, Lighting Up The Candles from Stevie Wonder. This track sets the tone for the compilation as the power trio each takes their turn with their interpretation of this classic song culminating in a recorded time of 10:12 (the original track was 4:11). Tommaso initiates the improvisational interpretation with his saxophone rendition, which is a perfect complement in tone and phrasing. The track segues to the piano’s "view" follow by the bass’ improvisational section; the track wraps up with saxophone lead and a solid baseline.

The next track is the classic jazz song, Del Sasser, by Sam Jones that has been covered numerous times, and like the first track, other musicians have adjusted the length of the track to allow for some creative improvisational rendering. The Power of Three paid their respects to the song as they took the original recording of 4:47 and let themselves get into the moment yielding a catchy, bouncy, and swinging 8:04 cover. The next track, This Here, by Bobby Timmons, is driven by the keyboard mastery of Bobby Timmons. The Power of Three used their creative talents leaning on the fingers of Jim Watson to improv the lead segment paving the way to Tommaso’s sassy sax then each member had their turn layering in their tool resulting in an extended 5:44 cover.

With the track, Got A Match?, by Chick Corea, the band took a different tack with their cover. Chick Corea’s original version is a powerful and fast paced transition through the fingers of Chick Corea, while The Power of Three starts off slow and builds up to the bass and then the sax being the foils for the pace and powerful transitions of the song. The next track, an original song Nina, which Tommaso dedicates to his five-year-old niece Nina, is a poignant song that fits nicely with the total compilation.

The Charlie Parker song, Segment, is captured in direct essence by Tommaso on saxophone and rounded out by the compelling baseline from the piano and bass. The band plays with the transitions as each member gives their feel to the song.

The cover of the Italian ballad Napule é takes on a different perspective as the original track’s string work is taken over by Tommaso’s saxophone while the powerful lyrics are handled by the strings of the bass in the hands of Laurence Cottle.

Other tracks on this imaginative and fervent release are One Upon a Time in America (Ennio Morricone) and Brazilian Like (Michel Petrucciani) with both tracks allowing The Power of Three to stretch their chops as they add in almost three additional engaging minutes to each track.

This is truly a masterpiece of music interpretation and coupled with the open-air venue created a "live / jam session" performance. As Tommaso says, "what you hear is what we played," so definitely give this release a listen.

Websites where you can procure Tommaso Starace – The Power of Three: iMusic, FYE, and Amazon.

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