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New and Old Swing by Anthony Principe Trio

This debut release from grandson of famous Italian accordion player Peppino Prince is an impressive display of the pianist’s dynamism and dexterity. His playing is passionate and exciting, filled with fervor and zeal. Although he doesn’t merely tickle the ivories, (he practically pounds and punches them) his style is not rough and choppy as one might expect. He portrays both the strength and forceful nature of the music, as well as the softer, gentler side with equal grace and technical elegance. Accompanied by Mauro Sereno on bass and Sergio Mazzei on drums, Principe’s first release proves to be a very exciting disc, with original and unique arrangements. Principe takes well-known standards and plays them the way he feels them, producing a sound and an atmosphere that is charged and driving.

Principe’s choice of tunes is interesting. For example, "I’ll Remember April" is one example of a standard that has been played and played again, but with Principe’s flair and pizzaz, this version is surely one that will never be forgotten. It is probably one of the most stunning interpretations one will ever hear and includes a great drum solo by Mazzei.

One wouldn’t expect a pianist as hard-playing as Principe to choose a tune like "The Man I Love," but somehow he manages to pull it off. You have to give him credit for that.

Of special note is "Cheek to Cheek," normally an upbeat, romantic song, transformed into a fast-moving and explosive romp that elicits much more than an easy-kind-of-love feeling. This interpretation expresses the fireworks and burning, insatiable desire of love. Sereno’s bass here is superb.

Another track of note is "Stella by Starlight" which, lingering in all the right places, proves Principe does have a softer side. Highlighted by bass and percussive accents, the tune picks up momentum, depth, and raw emotion and then eases off into another great bass solo by Sereno.

Principe also does an amazing version of Herbie Hancock’s "Dolphin Dance."

A seriously commendable first effort from Anthony Principe - a name the jazz world will certainly be hearing a lot more from. Bravo!

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Anthony Principe Trio
  • CD Title: New and Old Swing
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2007
  • Record Label: Simpaty Records
  • Rating: Four Stars
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