London-based guitarist Andrea Rinciari’s new album The Takeover (Soho Live), released at the end of November, is a collaboration with two musician friends from France – drummer Martin Cazals and saxophonist Thomas Gomez – and Italian bassist Lorenzo Morabito. A shared love for Bud Powell and Barry Harris is at the heart of the project. Interview by Lavender Sutton:
LondonJazz News: Where did you meet the guys in the band?
Andrea Rinciari: I went to Paris for a few gigs in 2019 and met this guy Martin Cazals – I really liked him and we really resonated together. On one of the gigs we played there was a saxophone player called Thomas Gomez. He played alto and I fell in love with his playing. He must have too, because on that first gig we did together he asked me to record an album.
We kept in touch and I went to Paris a few more times to play and to hang and the last time I went, earlier this year, we had a little tour of gigs with the same band. Me, Martin, Thomas and Gilles Naturel and Mattia Vendramin. We originally solidified the idea of a tour with this band in Paris so we had this thing going and it worked. It was so nice.
LJN: So you, Martin and Thomas had a good thing going and you brought them over to London?
AR: Yeah, so I tried to organise some things for them here in London and they came over and me and my friend Lorenzo Morabito, (who is my go-to on bass) all did five or six gigs in the week together.
Before the last gig we set up in the main room of Piano Bar Soho, where the stage is, and we recorded the album in two hours with one or two takes. It was fast – very spontaneous! But the fact that we turned out an album after only a week of playing together – because we had spent that week playing, the band was really tight.
LJN: I know you love Bud Powell – from the last album ‘To Bud’…so I’m guessing your colleagues in the band have a similar affinity for him?
AR: Well we started with a Bud Powell composition of course! Called In the Mood for a Classic. It was one of the tunes me and Thomas played in Paris on the tour. It’s like a Rhythm Changes but it changes key in the bridge and there are parts that are a different length – so it’s got some genius hidden corners, which is why I love Bud!
I first heard it because it was actually sung by Bud in an interview on the album Inner Fires. I did some research and the recording is on an album called Blues for Bouffemont.
As well, our version of Like Someone In Love is a nod to Bud. I tried to replicate the intro of Bud Powell playing this really nice arpeggiated intro on the guitar. It feels classically influenced and is a good representation of Bud. He played and recorded this tune so much, and you can always hear how he changed and grew through his career. That was cool to me.
LJN: There are a few originals on the track listing too though?
AR: Yes, Bogocipo – written by Martin, the drummer – is a Korean word for ‘I miss you’ and I think was written about a past heartbreak over the same chord progression as Bud’s tune ‘Celia’.
Easel is an original that I wrote, named after my best friend. It came to me in the weirdest way – the way songs do – it popped into my head in the shower and I had to fumble around to get my voice recorder up to get the melody down without getting my phone wet.
Thomas’ suggestion was The Thespian by Freddie Redd. On one of the trips to Paris, he played me this tune at his house and played it on his amazing speaker system.
And lastly, we picked a Barry Harris composition as a dedication to him. He passed away about a year ago and had a really strong impact on all of us. So, Around the Corner is for him.
LJN: Why did you call the album ‘The Takeover’?
AR: When I originally went to France for the tour, they called it the ‘London Takeover’ and then when they came here – we called it the ‘Paris Takeover’. As well, when they came over they stayed at my house and…in my one-bed flat – they basically took over!