South Italy-born saxophonist Salvo Losappio’s new album is an energetic mix of tribute songs and originals. Listeners can hear the work of Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Al Jolson and others as soon as the album opens. There are seven songs on the album that make “Long Story Short” a brilliant study in brief. For jazz fans who want a release that swings and reverberates with danceable energy, this is the album for them. “Long Story Short” is available May 15, 2018, from Gut String Records. It is also available on Amazon, iTunes, Google play, CD Baby, and Sound Exchange.
About Salvo Losappio
Though born in Italy, Losappio moved to New York in 2015 and soon fell in with other jazz musicians. After he’d earned a degree in Arts and Humanities, Losappio decided that he would devote his life to music. It was after he’d begun studying with Grant Stewart that Losappio began work with other jazz musicians. Losappio came to appreciate be-bop the most in terms of jazz elements. He cites a host of musicians that formed his understanding of jazz and be-bop in particular. Each song sounds as though Losappio is playing with the original artist. His own songs are reminiscent of another era while sounding contemporary at the same time.
“Shaw ‘Nuff” by Salvo Losappio
There is a jumping up and down urgency to this song originally performed by Charlie Parker. The horns and drums play well in contrast to each other. A piano keeps everything grounded in the up and down feel that is almost gospel music-like in its mid-range runs. A minute and a half into the song, there is a frantic chaos that threads through the song. The bass is played in a raw type of style that sounds as though the strings will break any second. And just when it seems as though the bass motif will rule the song, there is a drum motif that lasts a few measures. Soon, all the instrument groups are jumping together, making the happy chaos listeners expect from the song. At the end, it sounds as if the song is deconstructing, or winding down rapidly because of the energy spent to create it. At any rate, the conclusion sounds logical and the overall effect is a satisfying one for listeners.
“Boerum Hill” by Salvo Losappio
This song is track No. 3, and most listeners will have high expectations for it, as the previous songs were tribute tunes, and will want Losappio to prove what he can do.
In terms of mood, energy, and sound, “Boerum Hill” doesn’t disappoint. It sounds as though Losappio is a student of Parker’s and of be-bop in general. The piano is fast and pretty, and the saxophone matches it for tone and speed. The drums clack at lightning speed, and there is that familiar controlled, fun chaos that marked “Shaw ‘Nuff.”
While the song is quite fast, the soundscape is not crowded. Listeners can hear each instrument group, from the piano to the mumbling bass (or basses, as Losappio’s quartet has two), it is clear that each piece of the instrumentation is doing its part in bringing the song to life. It is also clear that Losappio understands what makes be-bop interesting and it is as though he attempts to express what makes the form appealing to him as an artist. The facts of the song shine through in the arrangement of this original. The drum showcase near the end is particularly fascinating, and it gives way to a saxophone showcase that makes good use of a change in tempo.
On “Long Story Short” Losappio pays homage to the golden age of be-bop and imbues his original works with the same energy and dynamics. The album of seven songs is rather brief, but it gives listeners some time to appreciate what each song has to offer in terms of instrumentation and arrangement.