12 agosto 2019

L'anno scorso, a sessant'anni dal celebre scatto fotografico di Art Kane A Great Day in Harlem - una sessantina di giganti del jazz tra cui Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk, Coleman Hawkins, Mary Lou Williams, Lester Young, Charles Mingus, Gerry Mulligan e Count Basie tutti in bella posa al numero 17 di 126th Street ad Harlem, New York - il sassofonista e bandleader Ed Palermo ha voluto rendervi omaggio andando a farsi riprendere esattamente nello stesso punto, stesso giorno e stessa ora. La foto, di Hugh Brennan, è ora la copertina del suo più recente album, su Sky Cat Records: A Lousy Day in Harlem. Dice Palermo: "The thing about this record is, I wanted it to be jazzier. We play a lot of jazz in my band, but I’ve been doing Zappa and British Invasion stuff for years and I’ve had these other types of music in my book, jazz tunes that had been close to my heart for decades. I finally felt ready to record these tunes – tunes I’d composed, and tunes I’d arranged. It felt like the right time to show the world another side of the band."

On 10am on August 12, 2018, exactly sixty years to the day and hour that Art Kane called NY's jazz artists to assemble for the Great Day in Harlem group photo, arranger / composer / saxophonist / bandleader Ed Palermo sat on the curb at No. 17 126th Street in Harlem, inches from where Count Basie once sat, to shoot the cover photo and album art for A Lousy Day in Harlem, his new album. Unlike his previous albums, this one focused entirely on jazz tunes and originals, a jazz tribute entirely immersed in tradition, shot through the lens of Palermo's playful genius. Palermo has always worked within the jazz tradition, but the jazz-centric focus of A Lousy Day in Harlem makes his dedication to tradition clear.

Palermo leads The Ed Palermo Big Band, an 18 piece NYC-based jazz big band known for superb musicianship and unprecedented big band jazz arrangements of tunes by rock musicians such as Frank Zappa, Todd Rundgren, The Beatles and more. With numerous studio albums on Cuneiform Records and frequent live performances, Palermo's music has won followers among jazz and rock fans, music critics and the general public alike. Like many jazz musicians from the past, he draws inspiration and audiences by looking to popular music of his generation – which for Palermo means pop and rock musicians from the 1960s onward, and not folk, gospel and blues from the distant past. Unlike other contemporary early 21st century big band leaders, he arranges music very much within the jazz tradition – music by the Ed Palermo Big Band, like music by the Count Basie Orchestra, swings. And EPBB concerts are rooted in the early 20th century tradition of big band jazz as popular entertainment: highly entertaining, fun events that delight audiences in search of great tunes, brilliantly arranged, and great musicianship.