Franco Nesti & Duccio Bertini “Cròmatos Project” – Caligola Records 2136

In these days of singers – especially young women – who act girly-girly in Norah Jones style, and have a pernicious influence in the already difficult discipline of jazz singing, Franco Nesti’s voice offers a glimpse of a new panorama. Voice? But isn’t Franco Nesti that talented double bass player from Florence, who played for many years in Luca Flores’ groups? Yes, it’s the same person. Few people know that Franco has also studied bass for the voice, singing opera and classical choral works but, being modest and reserved, had so far shared this passion with a small circle of friends. But this is not the only thing that renders this musical project extraordinary.
This work is based on the artistic partnership between Nesti and the young, but already well-established, composer and arranger, Duccio Bertini. They have chosen to work with the themes and sonority of contemporary jazz. This is still largely unexplored territory, especially in Italy where, unfortunately, there is an over-abundance both of jazz “re-visitations”, reinterpretations, of pop songs, that would have been better left in oblivion, where they’d fallen, and of revivals of repertories, whose only merit is that they remind us of an Italy that seemed to be better, more honest, less artificial. It is clear that Nesti and Bertini have worked long and hard preparing the repertory, and perfecting recordings. The list of composers on the CD is already a manifesto of aesthetics. The list of authors is unusual: Burrell, Swallow, Wheeler, Dorough, as well as two original pieces. As regards the arrangements, Bertini has chosen to write little and to write transparently, so as to highlight the structure of the piece and leave ample space for both voice and breath, and for the instrumental solos, which are just another of the trump cards of this project.
Bertini, himself a clarinettist and writes delicate music for wind instruments, which reminds one of the pastel tints of Ellington, and the suspended harmonies of Gil Evans. He uses both clarinets and flutes a lot, and, thanks to the versatility of the young, but experienced musicians invited to play, creates a sound of an orchestra that is light, yet incisive for the brass section and variegated in the strings…
Francesco Martinelli

Cròmatos Project
Franco Nesti (voice), Duccio Bertini (conducting and arrangements)
Reeds: Giovanni Pecchioli (clarinet), Simone Santini (alto sax, flute, sopranino sax), Claudio Giovagnoli (tenor sax, soprano sax, flute), Rossano Emili (baritone sax, bass clarinet)
Trombones: Silvio Bernardi
Trumpets, Flugelhorns: Luca Marianini, Nicola Cellai
Bass: Gabriele Evangelista
Piano: Simone Graziano
Drums: Walter Paoli
Guest Star: Claudio Fasoli (tenor sax, soprano sax)
Featuring Titta Nesti (voice on Before the First Time)

Recorded in Florence (Italy)
May 18-21, 2009

“…Good taste. If we were to briefly annotate a work like Cromatos Project, these would be the most suitable words. Good taste in the choice of the songs, which are certainly known to most people and still they are far from the standards now exhausted by a thousand interpretations. Good taste in the arrangements, which are flawless, light and impalpable like cirrus clouds on a warm midsummer day. The ensemble moves with elegance and moderation, it is never over the top, but always careful not to prevaricate and choke, as often happens, the dynamics of the voice…”
Vincenzo Roggero (All About Jazz)

“..this work is fascinating for its skillful play with the doses, the richness of its colors, the modernity of the orchestration and the lack of rhetoric in the solos. It is a chromatic fresco that suits the chosen title while effectively displaying the sophisticated intensity of the album playlist. It is a refined – but not an élite – record, which I would recommend to most people…”
Vittorio Formenti (Mescalina)

“..the result is remarkable from several points of view: an unusual repertoire (themes by Wheeler, Burrell, Swallow, Dorough and two original ones) treated with fantasy, lightness and aristocratic taste… ”
Angelo Leonardi (Musica Jazz)