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Palumbo plays Monk Live





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Here is a welcome and brilliant idea, to put on a CD this wonderful live recording, forty minutes of outstanding jazz from 2001. The venue was Jimmy’s, a now defunct Milanese joint in the Porta Vittoria area. I ignore the reasons for such a long wait; I do not either know whether in the meanwhile this precious material was running the risk of being lost. However, these are details, which cannot detract from the surprise and the pleasure of listening to it.

Here we find top soloists as Sante Palumbo, Michael Rosen, Marco Ricci, Stefano Bagnoli. And there is also the guest star Danilo Rossi, first solo viola of the La Scala Orchestra and Philarmonic Orchestra, helping anyone with a fine ear to remember how beautiful and tormenting is the sound of the viola, unjustly ignored by jazz music even more than the cello, which is anyway supported by top-notch players as Jaques Morelenbaum and Tomeka Reid.

Pianist Sante Palumbo, after which the CD is rightly named, deserves the most attention, Thelonious Monk being one of his most beloved inspirers for his compositions as well as for his keyboard. His choice of Monk’s pieces is remarkable: 52nd Street Theme, which the author filled with subtle irony, but never got to actual recording; Round Midnight, the most famous track, a certain success if well interpreted in full autonomy, as it is the case here; lastly, Ruby My Dear and Epistrophy, both intense, evocative tracks with nice solo intermezzoes. Palumbo belongs to the “old school” of the best Italian jazz. But the connoisseurs will not forget that he is also a forerunner of crossover jazz or, if you like it, <boundaryless> jazz. He arrived in Milan from his native Apulia after having attended the Conservatory in Foggia and he gained the esteem of the the most demanding audience with his perfect technique, his expressive skills, his up-to-date sense of jazz and his attitude to engage easily in the great classical and contemporary European music. He is also much appreciated as a teacher.

The co-stars in this recording live up to the occasion. The tenor and soprano saxophonist Michael Rosen, a New Yorker who Graduated from the Berklee School of Music and then moved to Italy, where he received high appraisals for his concerts and records. Marco Ricci is one of the most demanded contrabassists in the country for the beauty of his sound and for his rhythmic and melodic strength both in accompaniment and in solo. Drummer Stefano Bagnoli grew up in a family of jazz musicians, and prefers brushes to drumsticks, which is the reason why Americans nicknamed him “the brushman”.


Franco Fayenz



Sante Palumbo, born in Cerignola, studied piano and composition at the Conservatory in Foggia. Having lived in Milan since his youth, he played with the most renowned jazz players in the world, including Phil Woods, Charlie Mingus, Ron Carter, Tony Scott, Astor Piazzolla, Joe Venuti, Buddy Freeman, Don Sebesky; and, in Italy, with Franco Cerri, Giorgio Buratti, Lino Patruno, Tullio De Piscopo, Gorni Kramer, Enzo Ceragioli. With Tito Fontana he set to music Pope Wojtyla’s poems, which were interpreted and recorded by Sara Vaughan and the Cologne Symphonic Orchestra, directed by (in the LP “One World One Peace”). He has also been a soloist and arranger for RAI tv for thirty years (among his many shows, Portobello with Enzo Tortora).

An American-style all-around musician, he moves with flexibility from classical to jazz to the so-called pop music. As such, he worked with Maurice Chevalier, Luciano Tajoli, Claudio Villa and more recently, until today, with Iva Zanicchi, but also, as a composer, he interpreted on several occasions his own ‘suites’ and ‘fantasies’ performed by symphonic orchestras (“Pomeriggi Musicali”, “Milano Classica” at the Verdi Hall of the Milan Conservatory) he himself directed, besides the soundtracks for RAI tv. Among his countless concerts, we may cite “Homage to Gershwin”, for string quartet and jazz quartet at the RAI Auditorium in Turin; “Homage to Duke Ellington” with the “All Stars” octet at the Sforza Castle, for the City of Milan; and “Homage to Piazzolla” (with whom he worked on some records), revising in an original way the music of these three great composers. He frequently toured abroad, including the USA, Brazil, Australia. He has taught for forty years advanced classes in jazz piano, arrangement and orchestration in the most important jazz academies (Parma, Milano, Castellanza).

Sante Palumbo recorded about 100 LPs and many CDs, among which are “Puccini’s Melodies” for piano and string orchestra; “Bach in Jazz”; and the present work, “Thelonious Monk”.


Marco Antonio Ricci debuted at the Terra del Sole Festival in Castrocaro Terme in 1987, and in 1990 he joined the “European Jazz Orchestra of Young Talents”. He worked with many artists, participating in prestigious tours and recordings. He has been a permanent member of the Marco Detto Trio since 1992, and he has a leading role in the Trio with John Stowell (and Stefano Bagnoli), the “Quadrivision” quartet and that with Mike Del Ferro and Massimo Manzi, among others.

He performed in about eighty recordings, mostly within jazz projects, with an occasional foray into classical, contemporary, auteur and ethnic music.


Michael Rosen was born in Ithaca, NY, and attended the Berklee School of Music, where he obtained a scholarship and graduated
magna cum laude after only five terms. In 1987, he moved to Italy and performs in several renowned jazz festivals, also recording for virtually all the major Italian and Swiss artists. Very active in the European jazz scene, he is held in esteem also by his colleagues in classical music, and he often performs in concerts with the La Scala orchestra.


With a solid experience in jazz music after more than thirty years of work, he performed with several other national and international artists. He is the leader of his own trio (We Kids Trio), estabilished in 2012 with two young talents from Sicily, Francesco Patti and Giuseppe Cucchiara.

His massive discographic output, starting in 1978, involved the cooperation of many great artists of the present and of the past.


He was chosen by Riccardo Muti at the age of twenty for the position he still holds, i.e. First Solo Viola in the La Scala Orchestra and Philarmonic Orchestra, becoming the youngest first viola in the history of the prestigious Milan theatre.

He is an artist with a vast and varied musical experience, and he worked with several jazz players.


Recorded live at Jimmy’s Club – Milan 2001



A brief mention ... the new CD ... "good listening"

  01. 52nd Street Theme - T. Monk - 11:31
  02. Round Midnight - T. Monk, C Williams, B. Hanighen - 10:18
  03. Ruby My Dear - T. Monk - 8:55
  04. Epistrophy - T. Monk - 9:04


Catalog N° G CD 1952
Year 2014


Executive Production by Massimo Monti
Musicisti Associati Produzioni M.A.P.

Distribution M.A.P.