The album opener, ‘The Loop’, is an original 22-bar minor blues. It was a great honor that Vincent Herring recorded this song with the great Mulgrew Miller on piano. Mulgrew was (and still is) a strong influence on my musical development. In my opinion, Mulgrew is one of the last influential and ‘complete’ pianists in jazz.
‘E la chiamano estate’ is a song which brings me back to my youth in the late 60s and 70s – a time when, as kids, we watched what would be considered nowadays as the ‘golden years’ of Italian TV. These were also important years for Italian popular song, and this tune hails from that period. It was written and performed by the great Bruno Martino, author of the well known ‘Estate’. I purposefully chose to play it on the Fender Rhodes to give the feel of the 70s era.
‘Reflections’ is my personal tribute to one of the great composers in jazz, Thelonious Monk. Usually a ballad, it takes on a different character here in a medium tempo.
I first heard ‘I Want to Talk About You’ on a couple of different recordings by John Coltrane. It was composed and originally performed by the great Billy Eckstine; I especially enjoy his version with string orchestra. For me, it is one of the greatest ballads of all time. The sound of the Rhodes gives it a distinctive, special colour.
‘Lethargy’ is an original that I composed a few years ago which has a spacey, floating character.
‘Martha’s Prize’, a Cedar Walton classic, was a suggestion from our bassist Aldo Zunino. It is a dedication to Cedar, who is one of my biggest inspirations as both a pianist and composer. I have heard Cedar use the Rhodes on some recordings and therefore chose to use it on this tune.
‘Second Thoughts’ is one of my all-time Mulgrew Miller favorites!
Another classic Italian song from the 1950s, ‘Le Tue Mani’, was originally performed by Italian popular singer Jula De Palma. Nostalgically beautiful and a favorite among musicians, it ranks high on my list as one of the greatest jazz ballads of all time.
I wrote the song ‘Tribute’ especially for this recording. It reflects on my musical influences, which include the pianists I was inspired by: Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Barry Harris, Cedar Walton, Kenny Barron and Mulgrew Miller (among others); as well as the legendary musicians I had the great fortune to work with and learn from: Woody Shaw, Junior Cook, Jon Hendricks and Jerry Bergonzi, to name a few.
Renato Chicco – Short biography
Pianist and organist Renato Chicco studied at the University of Music in Graz, Austria, and at Berklee College of Music in Boston. While living in New York City (1990 -1998) he was a member of the Lionel Hampton Orchestra (1991-1992) and pianist and musical director with Jon Hendricks & Company (1991-1997). Being active on the New York scene during that time, Renato performed in clubs like the Blue Note, Birdland and the Village Gate, took part of radio and TV shows (with Lionel Hampton and Jon Hendricks), performed in festivals and clubs all over the United States, Europe, Asia and South America. Renato also performed with Lou Donaldson, Woody Shaw, Freddie Hubbard, Clark Terry, Benny Golson, Red Holloway, Al Grey, Joe Williams, Wynton Marsalis, Gary Burton, Milt Hinton, Reggie Workman, Jerry Bergonzi, Steve Grossman, Al Foster and many others. Among his recordings as a leader (on piano) Renato recorded two very successful CDs of his jazz arrangements of Slovenian folk songs and recently on organ, a big band project of original music. As a sideman he has appeared on over 50 recordings, most recently appearing on Jerry Bergonzi’s organ trio recordings ‘Spotlight on Standards’ and ‘Nearly Blue’. Renato is currently professor for jazz improvisation at the University of Music in Graz and continues to perform all over the world. Renato has been called ‘Pianist par excellence’ by Jon Hendricks.
As a leader and co-leader:
Renato Chicco & Big Band RTV Slovenija ‘First Encounter’ Organ & Big Band (ZKP,2019)
Renato Chicco & Flip Philipp ‘Face to Face’ (ATS Records, 2014)
Menza-Chicco-Reiter ‘Non dimenticar’ (Alessa Records, 2013)
The European Leaders ‘Live at Birdland Neuburg’ (Barnette Records, 2012)
Renato Chicco Organ Trio ‚This is New’ (Barnette Records, 2012)
Renato Chicco Quartet ‘Terrestrial’ (Goga Musica, 1999)
Renato Chicco Trio ‘Lipa zelenela je’, Slovenian Folk Songs in Jazz (ZKP, 1997)
Renato Chicco Trio ‘Slovenian Folk Songs in Jazz Vol. 2’ (ZKP, 2000)
As a sideman:
Jerry Bergonzi Trio ‘Nearly Blue’ (Savant, 2020)
Jerry Bergonzi Trio ‘Spotlight On Standards’ (Savant, 2016)
Jim Rotondi and the Loop ‘Hard Hittin’ at the Bird’s Eye’ (Sharp Nine Records, 2013)
Dusko Goykovich ‘The Brandenburg Concert’ (Enja, 2013)
Flip Philipp ‘Duffin’’ (ATS Records, 2013)
Maaike Den Dunnen ‘Arrival’ (ATS Records, 2013)
Guido Di Leone ‘Standards on Guitar’ (Four, 2011)
Jerry Bergonzi Quartet ‘Tenor Talk’ (Savant, 2008)
Jerry Bergonzi Quartet ‘Tenor of the Times’ (Savant, 2006)
Harry Ihanus ‘Present Past’ (Imogena, 2004)
Jerry Bergonzi Quartet ‘Live Gonz 1 & 2’ (Double Time, 2002)
Vincent Herring ‘Ends and Means’
Dave Santoro ‘The New Standard’ featuring Jerry Bergonzi (Double Time, 2001)
Dave Santoro ‘Standards Band II’ featuring Jerry Bergonzi (Double Time, 2000)
Hendrik Muerkens ‘Quiet Moments’ (Evidence, 1997)
Jon Hendricks and the All Stars ‘Boppin’ at the Blue Note’ (Telarc, 1994)
Hal Crook/Jerry Bergonzi Quintet ‘Conjunction’ (Konnex Records, 1992)
Tone Jansa feat. Woody Shaw ‘Dr. Chi’ (Timeless, 1986)
Woody Shaw with Tone Jansa Quartet (Timeless, 1985)