One doesn't come across many pianists who not only have a firm command of the blues, bebop, ballads and beyond but also bring something personal and original to the keyboard. Antonio Faraņ who has collaborated with Franco Ambrosetti, Richard Galliano, John Abercrombie, Billy Cobham, Lee Konitz, Antonio Hart, Branford Marsalis, Joe Lovano and Terri Lyne Carrington, among others, is arguably the leading mainstream jazz pianist in Italy today. The reigning winner of the Martial Solal Competition, Faraņ is a leading member of Europe's multifaceted jazz community and among the few instrumentalists from that side of the Atlantic to have hung out and held his own in jam sessions at Small's and other clubs on the challenging New York scene where he earned the respect of his Afro-American peers there like the late Kenny Kirkland.
For his third album on ENJA, "Next Stories," two days had been set aside for taping and a third for mixing but Faraņ and his cohorts had quickly become a tightly knit unit that effortlessly put down ten tracks in seven hours including a break for lunch. There were a few false starts but otherwise the quartet nailed each tune the first time around and did so with authority. Except for the Cole Porter song and the pianist's tender rendition of John Williams's moving ballad "I Could Have Done More" from his soundtrack for "Schindler's List," all the songs were written by Faraņ during the year leading up to the session.
In May 2000, American magazine Cadence commented Faraņ's ENJA debut, "Black Inside": "Faraņ at times recalls McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock but basically has his own advanced style.The pianist is particularly adept at building up his solos, his technique is quite impressive and his originals contain enough quality to hold one's interest throughout." "Next Stories" is the latest chapter to chronicle the ongoing creative saga of Antonio Faraņ who started his adventures in jazz during the mid-1980s as a teenage prodigy sitting in with the likes of Daniel Humair and Steve Grossman at the Capolinea Jazz Club in Milan. Although still in his mid-30s, the classically trained pianist who graduated with honors from the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan is a mature artist today.
Also available: "Black Inside" (ENJ-9345 2), "Thorn" (ENJ-9399 2)
Some other recordings by