Anthony D’Alessandro – Searchin’ (ENG review)

Street Date: April 26th 2024
Anthony d'Alessandro - Searchin' (ENG review)

Thanks to all our friends in the jazz album distribution network, we discover little geniuses every day, even in rainy, snowy, or stormy weather. This is the case with this composer and pianist surrounded by the best possible musicians for his project, namely Benny Benack III – Trumpet & Voice, Neil Swainson – Bass, Ernesto Cervini – Drums. Hailed by The WholeNote magazine as a pianist with a “natural sense of swing and groove” and “dazzling technique,” Anthony D’Alessandro, based in Toronto, is gradually making a name for himself across the country. Having already toured Canada from coast to coast with two-time JUNO Award-winning vocalist Caity Gyorgy and after spending a year playing and studying in New York, D’Alessandro is now releasing his debut album as a leader with “Searchin’,” an uplifting and feel-good jazz record featuring his own compositions and arrangements performed by a multi-generational all-star group.

But with this kind of critique, we might miss the essential, perhaps because, as a European, I still often receive proposals from Italy, where the melodies offered here are quite reminiscent of certain Italian artists from the 1950s and 1960s. It’s a true craftsmanship that isn’t within everyone’s reach, found in these compositions that are perfectly contemporary. The first two rather danceable tracks give way to a piece titled “Blues for the Down and Out,” which encourages a deeper listen and makes us feel the talent of the artists on this album, particularly the trumpeter I discovered through this album, Benny Benack III, truly impressive throughout this CD. It’s actually from this track that I began to genuinely appreciate the arrangements, as well as this form of acoustic quartet, radiant, complete, fleeting, synthetic, and visionary as Cyrano de Bergerac would say, but which perfectly symbolizes the art of this group.

“Searchin'” features five original compositions by D’Alessandro, each inspired by different facets of his musical tastes. From the relaxed calypso groove of “Tune for Monty,” to the punchy swing of “Outbreak,” and the delicate jazz waltz of “Wonder,” these compositions demonstrate the breadth of D’Alessandro’s musical palette. The album includes two vocal tracks, including D’Alessandro’s arrangement of the classic Gershwin ballad “Someone to Watch Over Me,” featuring the warm voices of Benack, as well as a vocal duo filled with scat, exchanges, and playful improvisations between Gyorgy and Benack on “East of the Sun.”

But this album opens doors to universes sometimes close to the art that has always made me dream, and which I hope to one day be able to stage: the musical comedy. Because here there is both humor, tenderness, and poetry, all of which are essential in this world undergoing mutations and upheavals of all kinds. The music could perfectly adapt to a contemporary choreography, a link between the past and the future woven here in seven scenes, leaving the listener in joyful dreams, giving this album such a charm that we declare it a “favorite,” which will uplift all those of you who acquire this album.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move and ABS magazine
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, April 19th 2024

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