Elisabetta Antonini - Un Minuto Dopo

When I first heard Elisabetta sing, which was some years ago now while I accompanied her on the piano as she sang a jazz standard, I remember thinking that she was a special student. She already had very nice phrasing, a coherent sound, and a passion for jazz standards… but I could see she was looking beyond her own needs and personal success.
She completely embraced my philosophy, from the most fundamental notion which I tell all my students : in order to be a jazz singer, to be able to take full advantage of all that being a jazz singer entails, you need to become a complete musician. You must be able to play the piano, understand harmony, know about the tradition of jazz, be aware of all the different genres in contemporary music, write your own compositions or at least be able to reinterpret the pieces you sing, and , in time, find your own voice. In just a few years Elisabetta’s modesty and determination have enable her to become a proficient teacher, a sophisticated singer, as well as a talented composer and arranger as you will hear in this her debut album, which I have very much been looking forward to, as have many of my colleagues who know her and hold her in high esteem.
“Un Minuto Dopo “ is an extraordinarily mature first album; full of attention to detail and innovative lines, enhanced by the choice of a drummer-less ensemble made up of fellow musicians who are perfectly suited to the task : Alessandro Gwis is as at home with complex rhythms, be they Latin – American or otherwise, as he is with spacious atmospheric moods with his impeccable resonant touch and his extraordinary yet discrete electronic brushstrokes ; Gabriele Coen, with his mellow dusky clarinet, is just a comfortable playing rhythm as he is in his role as a soloist, whether improvising melodically or adding humorous sound effects as punctuation. Finally , the special guest, the wonderful Paul McCandless, whose unmistakeable oboe opens the album with a lyrical intro on “Cerco Il Mare”, which was Elisabetta’s remarkable first composition. Next you will find “Lungo La Strada “ and “Un Minuto Dopo” ( listen to Gwis’s delightful solo interrupting the rhythmic flow, while hinting and reminding us of it from the upper octaves of the piano, and Coen’s relaxed mellifluous entry… a jewel in the crown ), pieces which show off her melodic – Rhythmic skills with ideas which are never trite or predicable. The next two pieces are “ La Ballata dell’Alfiere and “ Out of the Rolling Ocean”, which is a splendid setting of a poem by Walt Whitman. These pieces illustrate her knowledge of the European jazz tradition, by paying tribute to one of its leading lights, the great Kenny Wheeler, famed for his skilful use of harmony and counterpoint. And what a marvelous luxury it is to have McCandless’s top class oboe playing supporting and adding colour to the delicate washes of sound portrayed by the voice.
However Elisabetta is also very capable of producing original complex arrangements. Who would rearrange Frank Foster’s original Leo Rising and produce a version like this abandoning the fast bop framework ? Elisabetta’s reworking of the piece embellishes its melodic aspects and exalts the really fast phrases giving them a spacious background over which her magnificent fellow musicians interweave a splendidly textured canvas for McCandless’s wonderful soprano solo. And finally a reinterpretation of four compositions by our terrific Enrico Rava ; these melodies, which are well-known and dear to many of us, are enjoyed in a different light thanks to Elisabetta’s interpretations of the profound and imaginative lyrics by Marina Tiezzi.
Elisabetta’s precise vocal style, delicate yet authoritative at the same time, caresses both notes and words. Finally we come to Alice in Wonderland, her intonation is impeccable and her tonal colouring delightful, finishing this album off beautifully with a tribute to the jazz standards which she knows and loves so much.
“Un minuto dopo “ is the first step in Elisabetta’s artistic career, which I foresee as being – as I very much hope it will be – long and fruitful.
Here is a picture of an artist who is continually exploring and evolving.

Maria Pia De Vito.