Monday 1 April 2024

'Unaware Beauty' by Bruno Montrone

"A dream come true."  The impassioned announcement from pianist and composer Bruno Montrone was delivered via Facebook, 26th July 2023, following the completion of the two-day recording session at the MAST, Music Academy Recording Studio.  The accompanying photograph features Montrone receiving a congratulatory embrace from his trio collaborators - Joe Farnsworth and Giulio Scianatico - in what was surely an unrivalled moment within his career to date.

Despite 'Unaware Beauty' marking the debut full-length release from the pianist, Montrone has proved himself a seasoned live performer and in-demand collaborator.  His work across the Italian jazz scene has taken him to projects as part of the Dino Plasmati Antonio Tosques Guitart Quartet, Guido Di Leone Quartet and collaborative projects alongside Paolo Benedettini, Joe Magnarelli and Domenico Cartago, among others.  'Unaware Beauty' affords Montrone the opportunity to take centre stage however thanks to the champions of Italian and European jazz in A.MA Records.

Boasting an incredible line-up of world class talent over the years, A.MA Records have bestowed some fantastic new releases onto its audience most recently from Irina Pavlovic, Gianluca Vigliar and Pippo D'Ambrosio - a selection of immeasurably talented artists in which Bruno Montrone has justified his place alongside occupying his own seat at the table.  'Unaware Beauty' marks a stellar introduction to Montrone as a performer in his own right with a nine-track album that is both compelling and rich in charisma.

Having formed his trio for this album with bassist Giulio Scianatico and US drummer Joe Farnsworth, Montrone has surrounded himself with highly revered collaborators each bringing a wealth of experience and indelible skill to the project.  Scianatico has also immersed himself within Italy's thriving jazz community chalking up collaborations with Wasted Generation, Alessandro Campobasso, Gabriele Mastropasqua and A.MA recording artist, Enrico Le Noci.  Further, Joe Farnsworth can also lay claim to exceeding heights within his own career having recorded and performed with Pharoah Sanders, Patty Lomuscio, Harold Mabern and swathes more artists of increasing levels of fame.

The infectious swing of 'Edward Lee' ushers us into the wonders of 'Unaware Beauty' - at nearly nine minutes long, Montrone & company confidently establish themselves with more than a little help from Sarah Hanahan on saxophone who brings an incredible new dimension to the proceedings.  Offering a delectable variety of tracks from spirited and energetic numbers like 'The Hodgepodge' and 'Phrygian Sound Connotation' to the lush and divine balladry of 'With Malice Toward None'.  While saxophonist Sarah Hanahan makes a great addition to the album, vocalist Serena Grittani likewise delivers scene-stealing turns on tracks 'Where or When' and on the album's impeccable title track.

'Unaware Beauty' serves as a wonderful debut for Bruno Montrone and a project that is a testament to his numerous years and contributions to the Italian jazz scene.  "A dream come true."

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