|Caterina Zapponi w/ Houston Person, Bucky Pizzarelli & Monty Alexander
Blue Note Jazz Club is proud to present New York City-based, Italian-French singer Caterina Zapponi, celebrating the release of her new Motéma Music album, Romantica. Produced by Monty Alexander—Zapponi’s partner in life as well as in music—the project is the fullest realization to date of Zapponi’s unique sensibility, at once measured and emotional, economical and cinematic, international and especially fluent in the nuanced interplay of American jazz.
Yotam Silberstein - Guitar
Lorin Cohen - Bass
Monty Alexander - Piano
Bucky Pizzarelli - Guitar
Houston Person - Saxophone
Zapponi was born and raised in Rome, the daughter of celebrated screenwriter Bernardino Zapponi, a collaborator and longtime friend of Federico Fellini, and Françoise Rambert, a French-born chanteuse who instilled in Caterina her love of the French repertoire. Growing up amidst her parents’ collaborators and friends helped introduce Zapponi to jazz and the American Songbook while fueling her desire to move to the United States, which she did upon receiving a scholarship from Berklee College of Music. She graduated in two years and won the Berklee Cleo Laine Award for vocal achievement and performance. She went on to be a finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Vocal Jazz Competition.
Based in New York since 1994, Zapponi has surrounded herself with a family of remarkably accomplished—and diverse—musicians. Many of them feature on Romantica. Numerous tracks find her fronting a band including Monty Alexander on piano, Bucky Pizzarelli on guitar, Martin Pizzarelli on acoustic bass, Frank Vignola on guitar and mandolin. Elsewhere she sings with a trio including Alexander on piano, Hassan Shakur on acoustic bass and Kevin Kanner on drums. The guitarist Yotam Silberstein and the multi-instrumentalist Etienne Charles, among others, also make appearances.
Zapponi returns to her childhood influences throughout Romantica. The album opens with “J’ai ta main,” a song that was part of Zapponi’s mother’s cabaret act, and that her mother often rehearsed in young Caterina’s room, where the house piano was located. Zapponi is accompanied by Yotam Silberstein in interpreting another song by the seminal mid-20th Century French songwriter-singer Charles Trenet, “Que reste-t-il de nos amours?,” about which Zapponi explains, “My mother would interpret this song whenever they would ask her to sing during a dinner party. We would be sitting with any number of actors, directors, writers, and unfailingly the moment would come when somebody would say ‘Françoise, please sing!,’ and my mother would oblige.” On Romantica, Zapponi also sings the Henri Salvador classics “Count Basie (Lil’ Darlin’),” “Bora Bora” and “Maladie d’amour.”
She pays equal attention to the Italian Songbook, including “Polvere di stelle (Stardust)” which plays throughout the well-known Italian film, of the same name, co-written by her father; “Estate,” a Bruno Martino composition included on Joao Gilberto’s landmark album Amoroso; and the classic immigrant song “Torna a Surriento (Come Back to Sorrento).” The album concludes with two songs she wrote with Alexander—one in French, and one in Italian.