Michael Ragonese – Stracci (ENG review)

Street date August 24th 2023
Michael Ragonese – Stracci

Coming from the world of classical music, Michael Ragonese is a highly sought-after pianist who has already toured with Barbara Streisand, Dave Koz, Charnett Moffett, Walter Smith III, Mark Turner, Bennie Maupin, Engelbert Humperdinck, Rick Braun, Aubrey Logan, Grace Kelly, Bob Sheppard, and many others. As you can see, this short list includes musicians you regularly hear on Bayou Blue Radio, so it’s no coincidence when I tell you that this album is truly delightful, surprising, and captivating.
Of course, traces of classical music are scattered here and there, magnified by intelligent arrangements, and presented in the form of a remarkable trio composed of Michael Ragonese on piano, Lucas Alemanno on double bass, and Mark Ferber on drums – a particularly solid team of musicians who make us feel their joy of playing together, the number one rule to achieve an extremely successful album that makes you want to experience them live.
We can even sense Ragonese’s diverse inspirations because, for him as well as for us, there isn’t just one jazz but different jazz styles depending on various regions and states with diverse inspirations. This is reflected in the very different artists he has worked with. Out of the eight tracks, six are original compositions. This pianist and composer is so talented that he has even reinvented the two songs that don’t belong to him, like this majestic version of “I’ll Be Seeing You.”
The most amusing part is that we enter this album with surprising ease, into complex music in more ways than one, which Michael Ragonese has digested for us before delivering it back to us with a zest for life that permeates every track of the album. Whether you’re a jazz album regular or not, the listening pleasure will be the same, and you’ll find yourself letting this album play on your turntable without even realizing it.
For the editorial teams of Bayou Blue Radio and Paris-Move, it is only natural to include this album on the list of “must-haves” for its beautiful execution, which benefits from a high-quality mixing.

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

PARIS-MOVE, July 18th 2023