Dado Moroni – Live in Beverly Hills – Resonance Records RCD 1012, CD: 72:31 / DVD: 76:52 ****:
(Dado Moroni, piano; Marco Panascia, bass; Peter Erskine, drums)
Genoa, Italy native Dado Moroni, has been making a name for himself as a lyrical groove oriented pianist for over two decades. He has recorded over ten CDs as a leader, but makes a major label debut with Resonance Records on Live in Beverly Hills. Released as a dual disc issue, our review copy contained a DVD, whereas a Bu-Ray version will be available to the public.
If the Blu-Ray improves on the video quality of the DVD we received, then it will be a special treat, as the DVD video was top notch with many fine superimposed images of the rhythm section blending seamlessly with Dado’s piano playing, giving the impression of being onstage with the trio.
Live in Beverly Hills was recorded at the Rising Jazz Stars studio in Beverly Hills and an intimate house party environment is felt as the studio was outfitted with chairs and lucky fans were treated to the trio’s interaction when this recording was made over two days on April 10-11, 2010.
The song list is a mixture of standards and Moroni originals. Those purchasing the Blu-Ray will have the addition of a privately recorded additional track, “Just an Old Song.”
“Ghanian Village” kicks off the concert and Moroni begins with a repetitive riff before the Erskine joins in. Peter’s stick work is immediately felt and he demonstrates his highly rhythmic chops. Peter is a seasoned pro who goes back to playing with both Stan Kenton and Maynard Ferguson in the 1970s. His energy clearly inspires Moroni, as Dado throughout this track and others seems to kick up the intensity. Erskine’s solo on the opening track is infectious as the fine fidelity of the cymbals have a snap and sheen that are matched with the crisp drum skin contact.
MJQ’s John Lewis’ famed “Django” follows and Moroni’s lyricism is felt as he caresses the keys of the fine sounding Fazioli grand piano. “Where is Love?” from the musical, Oliver, is given a bossa-nova treatment. Dado honors his former employer, Ron Carter, with “Einbahnstrasse”, which Carter first wrote and recorded back in the 1960s. Appropriately, bassist Marco Panascia, has a nice solo mid-track.
Moroni brings his homeland to the LA crowd with a Sicilian traditional song, “Vitti Na Crozza.” This would be a great song for a road trip listen as it has very relaxed vibe that is deeply calming. The longest track during the session is a tribute to one of Dado’s heroes, Ahmad Jamal, simply titled “Jamal.” Moroni calls Ahmad a “jazz Picasso”, an apt description.
For fans of deeply swinging and lyrical piano trio recordings, Moroni’s Live in Beverly Hills comes highly recommended.
TrackList: Ghanian Village, Django, Where is Love, I Hear a Rhapsody, Einbahnstrasse, Vitti Na Crozza, Nose Off, Jamal, Just an Old Song (Blu-Ray additional track)
– Jeff Krow