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"Now here's a duet setting that makes sense. First, it should be stated that a few other instruments make appearances: a cello here, a harp there, and a bass on one or two cuts. Otherwise, it's the mellifluous midrange alto of Roberta Gambarini combined with the considerable guitar artistry of Antonio Scarano. With Scarano originals rounding out the program (including the haunting "Rain in the Wood"), the rest of the program is scored out with original lyrics or scats for composers such as Thelonious Monk ("Criss-Cross"), Miles Davis ("Nefertiti"), Ornette Coleman ("Ramblin'"), Sonny Rollins ("Oleo"), and Mal Waldron (the classic "Soul Eyes"), as well as a couple of pieces from Ravel and a traditional Neapolitan song. Using only a guitar and the human voice to take on Monk and Waldron is a daunting task. And relying this heavily on the guitar as accompanying instrument to carry the fragile concerns of the human voice is a considerable challenge, but Scarano is more than up to it. 

His instrument is always in support, even in solo, never ringing out of turn or cutting through the vocal with chromatic arpeggiated cycles. On tunes like the Ornette, Monk, and Miles, the duo may not echo the original style of the compositions, but the musicians hold true with their particular brands of lyricism and harmonic interplay. In the case of the Coleman piece, this is no mean feat.

“Listening to this album, there is no doubt that Roberta Gambarini will soon become a major Jazz artist, one whose career I’ll be eager to follow”

(Kevin Whitehead, Cadence Magazine)

Scarano prefers consonant intervals and, as such, his opening of the structural harmony of Coleman is a stretch, but one that pays off in how close it remains to the blues. Waldron's "Soul Eyes," with original lyrics, is much closer, in fact, in the same minor mood of blue/black the composer was in as he wrote the tune. Scarano carries the silky textures of the guitar's ostinato wonderfully, and Gambarini allows each phrase to drop out of her mouth like a limpid pond under the moon. There is an unnerving sexual tension in the song that opens itself up to exploring that emotional nuance rather than keeping it within the song's framework. 
Seek this one out- it’s more satisfying than you could ever imagine.”

Thom Jurek, AllMusic


Antonio Scarano

Roberta Gambarini

"Aprèslude" Reviews

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