As part of our “Jazz Weekend”, Matthew and I attended Alexander Platz in Rome, to see the Rosario Giuliani Trio (13th Nov). I very much appreciate the sound and quality of jazz music, but Matthew is the expert in this subject so I let him pick the band, and was I ever glad that I did. It was a three man ensemble: Rosario Giuliani on the sax, Marco Valeri on the drums, and Leonardo Corradi on the harpsichord.
What is that last instrument you say? It is like the mix between a piano, an organ, and an electric guitar, at least that is how I would describe it. The guy, or kid I should say because he was only 18, kept a beat on that thing like it was a bass guitar and soloed with it like he was some kind of front man. His head banged from side to side as his fingers moved nimbly over the keys, mouth open most of the time, mouthing the notes as he played them. The entire club seemed to stop when it was his turn to let loose, and I can see why it did.
If Leonardo Corradi on the harpsichord was the front man then Rosario Giuliani on the sax was the soloist. I felt bad for the instrument when I left, not because he played poorly, but because he played it into the ground! The mixture of his lungs combined with the apparent longevity of that saxophone made me smile every time I watched him step forward to play. He seemed never to inhale, blowing out all the while his fingers ran up and down the neck of the sax, looking like they did not know what they were doing but sounding like a perfectly planned piece.
So, that leads me to the man in the back, Mr. Valeri on the drums. As much as I liked the harpsichord and the sax, I felt that the drummer was my favorite. Do I have a partiality to drummers? No, not really, even though it would seem that way from my reviews. I can’t help it if the city of Rome is just chock full of drumming talent! While Corradi or Giuliani played, I mentioned to Matthew about something or took a sip from my beer, but while Valeri was soloing, I had my eyes transfixed on his hands as my ears perked up for the insane beats. When he finished and went back into just backing rhythms, I needed a second to remember where I was and to change to hear the other two instruments.
Now, the club itself is an experience. It claims to be the “oldest jazz club in Rome” and I can see how they would fit that claim. They are located in the basement of a random building on a tiny side street. The ceilings are kinda low and the doorways are lower; I am around 5’10” and even I had to duck! I wouldn’t call these negatives because they really bring out the hominess of the place. The walls are littered with what first appears to be graffiti but, upon closer inspection, reveals itself to be signatures of artists who were there before. I also appreciated them starting on time and the acoustics were great to me, but then again I was right up front (frēstyl privileges!). I would highly recommend the place and would go there again in a heartbeat. Not every review can be perfect though. My one complaint was that we had a very shaky table.