****RINGER OF THE SETTEMANA****Gary Smulyan/Dominic Chianese: Bella Napoli

Is anyone noticing that bari saxist Gary Smulyan is putting out some of the greatest music the past few years? Last year he did a cooker of a tribute to Ellington’s sax section, and now, well, it’s a different type of cooking! Pizza Napolitano, as he, Matt Wilson, Gary Versace, Martin Wind, Joseph Brent and Jeff Lederer team up with Italian folk crooner Dominic Chianese for a full meal of sumptuous Italian fare.

Mixing the freedom of jazz with the passion of traditional Italian pieces such as “Funiculi Funicula” and “O Sole Mio,” Chainese and Smulyan sound like compadres serenading each other in Piazza Navona. As far as Smulyan’s bop chops go, get a load of his triple meter work on “Tre Veglia e Sonno” to get your head spinning. As far as the old school flavors go, you can almost feel the mist of the fountains sparkling behind the violins and accordions on “Fenestra Che Lucive” and Chainese’s voice is as old school as fried Scarmortza cheese. Lyricism and melody take the day here, and when Chianese goes a cappella on the closing “Santa Lucia Lontana,” there isn’t a dry eye in the house. Bravo ragazzo!

Capri Records


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