Written by: Kev Rowland
Billy is a native of Westchester, but when he met bassist Marcello Testa and drummer Nicola Stranieri in Italy in 2014, they all realised that they were incredibly sympathetic to each other musically, and that they should work together. Gigs in Italy followed, all which led up to this album. Billy was originally taught and mentored by Sal Mosca, who encouraged him to study the solos of influential saxophonist Lester Young, and at the age of 18 he won entry to the prestigious Manhattan School of Music. But, after marrying just five years later, and starting a family, he decided that he couldn’t make a living playing jazz and became a teacher himself. Over the years he has released seven CDs, but it is only in recent times that he has started gigging again in earnest.
There is something about a jazz trio that is very special indeed, and in Billy we have here a pianist who loves to play around the tune, and improvise accordingly, while the double bass and drums provide the perfect backdrop. Nicola uses brushes extensively, and this gives a particular sound, while Marcello is content to duet, solo, or just keep it all together in the background. I find it incredibly hard to play this CD with my eyes open, as it just draws me in and makes me want to relax into the groove, and let the amazing sounds wash over me. I could listen to Billy all day…
An Evening with Friends // Yeah Man! // To Giulia // Pop Pop Train // Consolidation // Omens