Wednesday 6 April 2022

'Fantàsia' by Jacopo Ferrazza

'Fantàsia' marks the new album release from Italian bassist and composer Jacopo Ferrazza released through the newly-formed Teal Dreamers Factory record label.

Ferrazza has amassed an incredible reputation over the years as a formidable musician and preeminent talent in Italy's thriving jazz scene.  A highly-decorated artist, Ferrazza's skill as an acoustic and electric bass player as well as a skilled pianist has seen him grace stages the world over performing alongside revered names such as Mario Biondi, Logan Richardson and Danilo Blaiotta amongst countless others.  

As a solo artist in his own right, the Jacopo Ferrazza Trio can boast two full-length releases to their name with 'Rebirth' (2017) and 'Theater' (2019) with both releases having found their home on Italy's esteemed C.A.M. Jazz record label - themselves a label geared towards spotlighting some of the leading names in Italian and overseas contemporary jazz talent. 

Recent years, however, have seen Ferrazza embrace opportunities to carve out his own musical path and subsequently embrace the freedom that comes along with doing so.  And Teal Dreamers Factory is as much a part of the story here as the music on 'Fantàsia' itself.  A label established by Ferrazza and artist Sophia Zaccaron during the Covid lockdown, Teal Dreamers Factory was initially designed to serve as an all-encompassing artistic hub - one that would go beyond just music and ultimately embrace and celebrate creativity in a variety of varying contexts.  It's an ambitious approach but one that has potentially already exceeded their own expectations within the label's own comparatively short life span, certainly in light of the music that Ferrazza has already unveiled under its umbrella.  Last year's 'Wood Tales', for example, presented a collection of twelve recordings featuring Ferrazza's double bass compositions for an incredibly bold solo outing; a release in stark contrast to the sheer imagination and scope of 'Fantàsia'...

This time heading up a quintet of fantastic artists and musicians which include some long-term friends and collaborators including drummer Valerio Vantaggio (Jacopo Ferrazza Trio, Andrea Biondi), pianist Enrico Zanisi (Norma Ensemble, David Liebman) and cellist Livia De Romanis (Ennio Morricone, Teho Teardo).  While each of these outstanding contributors is key to the project's overarching sound, vocalist Alessandra Diodati really provides a captivating layer to the compositions - an outstanding vocalist with some wonderful songs to catch via her Soundcloud page as well.

With a narrative concept beautifully captured by Zaccaron for the album's artwork, 'Fantàsia' is very much the type of unhindered and creative musical expression any artist could strive to achieve.  The album's opening title track marks a masterful introduction to the boundless ideas and concepts captured throughout 'Fantàsia' - a haunting and captivating first half of the song, accentuated by Diodati's sublime vocal and the understated interplay between the piano and strings, gently eases you into this inspired new setting before the rules change in an instant making way for this explosion of electronica-inspired free jazz that sets this unpredictable tone for the whole project.  

With compositions and arrangements that are represented as a sequence of nine separate dream-like experiences, the themes throughout 'Fantàsia' focus on life, death, love and time... but its true beauty is the experience it bestows upon each listener affording them their own personal journey and interpretation of what 'Fantàsia' really is.  The album is a remarkable piece of work and may very well serve as Jacopo Ferrazza's masterpiece for some time to come.

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