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Rossana Casale Quintet – Almost Blue

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In common language, blue is the color of melancholy and hope. From the blue feeling comes the blues, which has its roots in the songs of the cotton field slaves, in the hope of freedom and revenge. “The blues is more than a color, it’s a moan of pain, the taste of conflict, a sad refrain but also a game that life plays” (note to self. excerpt from All Blues – Kind of Blue M. Davis 1959). And it is the color blue, metaphor of spirituality and transcendence, of tranquility and silence, of contemplation, the concept of the new project by Rossana Casale set to be released in June 2024 by Egea Music.

“A few months ago, while taking a long walk by the sea, on one of those days when you can’t really say how you’re feeling,” Casale recounts, “observing the clear meeting between water and sky, I found myself singing to myself the song Blue Skies by Irvin Berlin and consequently going through in my mind all the jazz songs that, in their title or lyrics, mentioned the word blue. From the most melancholic ballads like Little Girl Blue, sung by Nina Simone in her very first album in ’59 or Am I blue made famous by Ethel Waters, to Almost Blue by Elvis Costello sung by the silky voice of Chet Baker, Blue in Green, a mystical piece by Miles Davis, to more carnal and abstract pieces like Afro Blue by Coltrane or fun ones like Blue Rondo a La Turk by Dave Brubeck that Al Jarreau also successfully covered in the 80s playing on the lyrics themselves. Many came to mind. So I came up with the idea of creating a work entirely focused on exploring that word so rightly aimed at jazz and the musician who liberates it from the prisons that want it to be only sad. It’s not just like that.”

Rossana Casale chooses the songs that jazz has dedicated to “The color of colors,” as Miles Davis defined it, and creates her new in-jazz project by adding the unreleased “Shades of Blue,” written in collaboration with musician Luigi Bonafede. A return to pure jazz, that of Casale, after several years (Jazz in me 1994, Billie Holiday in me 2004), despite jazz itself having always been the home base for her dedicated albums (Jaques Brel in me 1999, Strani Frutti 2000, Il Signor G e l’Amore 2013, Round Christmas 2016, JONI 2022).

With her, great jazzmen with long careers in Italy and abroad, excellent musicians who return from her past and with whom she has shared albums and tours. They are: Carlo Atti on tenor sax, Luigi Bonafede on piano, Enzo Zirilli on drums, and new acquaintance, Alessandro Maiorino on double bass.