Tag Archives: CD

Claudio Scolari, Daniele Cavalca & Simone Scolari: Natural Impulse



Another album that combines electronic and acoustic music comes from Italy, from drummer Claudio Scolari, multi-instrumentalist Daniele Cavalca and trumpet player Simone Scolari (he is Claudio’s son).

Their album “Natural Impulse” was released on January 26, 2018.

Claudio Scolari was educated as classical percussionist and works at the Conservatory of Caltanissetta in Sicily. 

The basic idea of the album is to compose in real time without any rules. Nevertheless the songs in the album have a strong structure and rich color, so it is a real pleasure to listen to the album. Every tune has it’s own mood, it’s own spirit, making the CD diversified and very entertaining.

10 songs are on the album with a total playtime of 62 minutes.

The opener “Unknown Destination” introduces the band: drums, trumpet, a piano that sounds a little bit honky-tonky and various synthesizer sounds. After that intro the song gets into its pulse, with  piano and trumpet as duellists.

The second tune “American Skyscrapers” is one of my favorite tunes on the album. Base of the song is a somehow familiar jazz harmonic structure and again a steady pulse from drums and bass. Daniele Cavalca on vibraphone adds the extra NYC-Jazz-touch here.

The next song is called “Chasing Inspiration” and is a lonesome trumpet in conversation with a synthesizer accompanied by two drum sets.

The fourth song is the title song of the album. The piano plays the main theme and solo backed up by drums and bass.

The next tune is called “Moon Mood” and is a big contrast to the spartan sound from before. The trumpet plays the melody and various synthesizer sounds support Simone Scolari. A slow riff by bass and drums build the fundament of the tune.

“Dear John” comes next. Again, the trumpet plays the melody with the support of a synthesizer pulse. The mood of this song is quite festive and ceremonial.

“Uptown Nigh Trip” starts very open with a Fender Rhodes piano, synthesizer and drums searching for the right direction for the night trip. Sometimes they find a place where to stay but the search continues throughout the song. A brillant abstract painting.

Song #8 is called “Insomnia” and continues where “Uptown Night Trip” ended, the search continues  with the full ensemble in action: trumpet, vibraphone, piano, synthesizers, bass and drums. The trumpet manages sometimes to escape that dark feeling with beautiful high notes.

The next tune is called “Over The Horizon” and is another of my favorites on the album. Great synthesizer layer with the trumpet above and bass and drums supporting them.

The album finishes with the song “South Hemisphere” and it shows again all the different elements that make this album so pleasant: complex rhythmic structures, a great variety of sounds and a brillant trumpet above all that.

As a summary I have to say that this album is a perfect example of modern improvised music combining different elements from Jazz, classical and world music into one masterpiece. The album is not a conventional Jazz album but a journey to improvised music and into sound-painting. So, take your time to listen to the complete album, don’t rush through the songs and I hope you will find the same inspiration from this music as I did.


If you want to know more about Claudio Scolari please take a look at his website:

There is a nice interview with him on JazzBluesNews:

And finally a playlist on iTunes:




My favorite CD at the moment is the latest record from Dr. Lonnie Smith.  Officially released on Jan 12, 2018 it is also one of the first CDs I bought in 2018. The album was recorded live during his week-long 75th birthday celebration at the Jazz Standard in New York City, with his longtime trio of guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg and drummer Johnathan Blake. Special guests are Joe Dyson on drums and singer Alicia Olatuja. The album was produced by Blue Note Records boss Don Was and it fits perfectly into the mission of Blue Note to present the future movements of jazz as well as honoring those who forged the tradition.

The first song on the CD is the Wayne Shorter’s classic modal composition “Juju.” Kreisberg shows his virtuosity and his experience with this song, his solo is very well structured and organized and masters the different parts of the tune perfectly. I would even say that this solo is like a reference for all guitar players when studying this song.

Next up is “Devika”,  composed by the late Dave Hubbard, a tenor saxophonist who worked with Dr. Lonnie Smith.  A slow and groovy tune in perfect contrast to “JuJu” and the 3rd song on the album, “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” by Paul Simon. Joe Dyson replaces Blake behind the drums on this one and the band shows how much fun they have with this song. The first solo goes to Kreisberg who opens his effects box with and an old-fashioned octave sound in the second part of his solo followed by the Dr. with a soaring organ solo.

The band goes back into a balladesque style with Tadd Dameron’s “On a Misty Night”, which starts soft and gentle but develops great dynamics in the improvisation part.

The next two tunes are originals by Lonnie Smith, first “Alhambra” which has a long free introduction on the synthesizer playing strings, flute and trumpet sounds. Kreisberg starts with his rhythm guitar after 3:30 minutes followed by the Dr. playing the head of the tune and then the improvisations start in a jam style, first Kreisberg followed by Smith with standing ovations after almost 10 minutes of playing.

“All In My Mind”, the title song features singer  Alicia Olatuja, one of the rising stars of the New York jazz and gospel scene. Lonnie Smith recorded this song before but decided to play it again. “It’s the right time to be singing this again,” he says, referring to the meditative lyrics that long for a better world. 

The CD ends with the Freddie Hubbard song “Up Jumped Spring,” a tune he wrote to celebrate the spring season, for which we are all waiting after this long and gray winter in the northern hemisphere. Very easy and relaxed played does it also show the great fun the band and the audience had. No hidden message here, no extra statement on top of the great melody, just plain swinging jazz music.

I am a big fan of organ trios and Dr. Lonnie Smith is one of the masters of this genre. The music comes sometimes with a little twist or an extra surprise (like the introduction in “Alhambra”) but always from the heart.  Smith wanted to record “All In My Mind”in a live setting because, as he says, “It’s so hard to capture what I’m feeling at the moment in the studio. Hearing me live is catching me playing in the moment. It’s a good vibe. It’s a loving situation.”

Enjoy this CD and if you have a chance to see Dr. Lonnie Smith live, don’t miss it.

Finally a playlist from iTunes to give you a chance to listen to the songs: