Night in Fonorama. And it was a night in the real meaning of the word, that the five jazzmen spent at the Fonorama, one of the most important studios in Milano. It was the night of May the 31st 1964. They met at nine o’ clock in the evening, and they saw the day-break on a working Milano while they still were trying to perfectionate the last tune.
We said they «met»: and no word is more significative to indicate the meeting of the five musicians at the studio. There was nothing decided before: neither the pieces to be recorded, nor even the least idea of arrangement. They met and decided the pieces to record. It was not even necessary to establish an order for the solos. Some notes to warm up the instruments, and then they started with the first tune, as if they had always played together. Naturally these sessions, particulary in Italy, never are spontaneous: generally there must be someone to create the opportunity. In this case the « promoter », was the drummer Franco Tonani. « A real jazz record, just like I wanted it and like I felt it », – said Tonani. And to have it, he reunited himself with some well-known musicians: Lee . Gato , Barbieri, an Italo-Argentine tenor-sax who is showing his value day and day more; Franco Ambrosetti, the young son of the well-known Swiss musician Flavio; Giovanni Tommaso, who is doubtless the best jazz-bassist now in Italy, and at last an o outsider -: Franco D’Andrea. I think he’ll not take the word « outsider »: in a bad way: it’s evident that with this record he really deserves to be recognised as one of the best european pianists. But let’s pass oil to a consideration of the pieces: Vamos originally created by Ambrosetti and Barbieri. It’s a piece full of drive; to remark not only the ability and the style « à la page» of Barbieri and Ambrosetti but also the excellent beat of Tommaso (very good his solo), of Tonani and of Franco D’Andrea, measured and precise either as accompanist or as soloist. We have a further proof of D’Andrea’s ability in the next piece U-Boat, played in trio. D’Andrea reveals clearly to have reached a maturity through his clever and strong playing, particularly In the interesting « duo » with Tommaso. Tonani is a very good supporter and shows his class in Drum-ding. Every musician and jazz amateur knows how difficult may be a solo of drums, specially when on record. Well! Tonani has passed the test excellently. His solo is a mixture of modern phrasing, of ideas and of very good exactness of tempo. Junior’s Idea is the beloved tune of Ambrosetti, who created it, trying to execute it whenever possible. Today lie is not only a very passionate and young trumpet player, but he got more maturity, a validity of style, a search in expression, really rare to find in European jazz. To prove it, is sufficient his solo in this piece, a solo that finds a reply in another excellent solo of Lee Barbieri equally discursive though more strong, more violent, more exasperating modern. In this piece there is also a very good rhythmic support – as in the other pieces – and a Tommaso’s solo which is particularly worth of notice. Stella by Starlight, another piece which seems really created to reveal the musical possibilities of every musician of the quintet. Solar is an evident tribute of Ambrosetti to Miles Davis; but most of all remarkable is the atmosphere created by these musicians, an atmosphere that adds interest to a record of particular importance and of unrepeatable spontaneity. - Pino Maffei