The child prodigy has grown and, obviously, has changed. In these last four years since "Happy Time", his first studio album distributed worldwide, Francesco Cafiso has returned to record for Cam Jazz: the new album by Roman Label is entitled "Angelica" and to record it the Sicilian musician went to New York, to Sear Sound studio, where on September 1 and 2 2008 - pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Ben Strett, and drummer Adam Cruz, were waiting for him.
"Evidently,, when growing, there is human maturation as wellas musical reflection", says Francesco Cafiso. " And this new album is particular because it reflects the tradition of jazz, to which I always feel tied, but also the desire to move forward". In "Angelica" there are standards which are revisited with modern sensibility by a 20-year-old kid, as well as original pieces. The standards are A Floweris a lovesome thing by Billy Strayhorn, which opens the cd, Peace by Horace Silver, Why Don't I by Sonny Rollins and, certainly not least, the title track, a true Ellington gem.
The young saxophonist says of the standards :" I've always adored Strayhorn and Ellington, from a compositional and musical point of view but also generally speaking : they are both geniuses. I like their tracks because I can play them in my own way. I then decided to do Peace because it is one ot he most beautiful ballads, and Silver, too, is among my favourite composers. Lastly, Why Don't I is one of the pieces that lately I perform live the most". Among the original compositions on "Angelica" is Scent Of Sicily:" It is a homage to my birthplace, with strong references to the traditions of Sicily and, more in general, to the Mediterranean culture". Even bassist Nello Toscano is Sicilian, writer of Winter Sky, a touching and ideal conclusion to the Cd: Nello is my dear friend and Winter Sky is a real beautiful piece. I heard it shortly before going into the studio and fell immediately in love with it". About his "Angelica" album mates Cafiso adds :" All three of them are extraordinary musicians, out ot his world. And super professional. But I was also impressed by their openness, by their ability to the musicians at 360°. They are versatile and can do anything. Playing with Aaron, Ben and Adam was for me an important experience". And from this feeling the album benefited, and album that enchants from beginning to end, and whose listeners discover a new and different Cafiso, always very concentrated onhis limpid alto sax, and even more attentive than before to the musical content.
One of the most precocious talents in the history of jazz. When he was barely nine years old Francesco took his first steps, working with internationally famous musicians.
First of all, veteran jazz critic Ira Gitler was blown away by the young man's incredible set with veteran pianist Franco D'Andrea at the 2002 Pescara Jazz Festival, most of which was issued on the Philology CD Standing Ovation and was described in detail by Gitler in an article written for the Jazz Journalist Association newsletter. Meeting Wynton Marsalis at a laterfestival was a decisive moment for Francesco’s career. Amazed by Francesco’s qualities, Marsalis took him along with his septet on his 2003 European tour, where Francesco performed in prestigious theatres in the largest cities in Europe.
From that moment on, Francesco went through a series of important experiences both in Italy and abroad. He attended the 2004 International Association of Jazz Education in New York City, amazing audiences in his nightly jazz sessions with veterans James Williams (piano), Ray Drummond (bass) and Ben Riley (drums). Phil Woods, who obviously knows the difference between musicianship and press hype, commented to one writer in jest, “I'd like to break his arm!”
He won various important prizes: the Massimo Urbani National Award to Urbisaglia, the EuroJazz Award to Lecco, the International Jazz Festivals Organization Award to New York, the World Saxophone Competition to London, the Django d’Or to Rome and many others.
In order to improve his English, but most of all, in order to experience new musical styles and genres, Francesco went to New Orleans where he played with Ellis Marsalis, Jason Marsalis, Thadeus Richard, Bob Franch, Maurice Brown and many others important local musicians while taking special lessons from Alvin Batiste.
In 2005 the Swing Journal, the authoritative Japanese jazz music magazine, confers him the New Stars Award, prize reserved to the emergent foreign talents. Immediately later, the affirmation in the Top Jazz, referendum of the Italian Music Jazz magazine, that recognizes him as the best new talent of the year.
Francesco performed with a number of great musicians: Hank Jones, Cedar Walton, Mulgrew Miller, Ronnie Matthews, Jimmy Cobb, Ben Riley, Ray Drummond, Reggie Johnson, Doug Sides Lewis Nash, James Williams, Joe Lovano, George Mraz, Joe Locke, Enrico Rava, Gianni Basso, Dado Moroni, Franco D’Andrea and many other Italian and American musicians.
In February 2006 Francesco has achieved the Diploma in Transverse Flute at the Musical Institute V. Bellini in Catania with the Elena Favaron guide and he studies piano jazz.
In 2009 he performed at President Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony guest of Wynton Marsalis' “Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra"