1. Jazz Theme Variations
2. Nina's Dance
3. Thinking of Anita
4. A Piece for Peace
5. The Gosspers
6. Opus Jazz
7. Darn That Dream
8. Sweet and Lovely
9. Sophisticated Lady
10. Jazz Tarantella
11. Star Eyes
13. Let's Burn
Frank Rosolino - Trombone (vocal on track 5)
Conte Candoli - Trumpet
Tony Scott - Clarinet, baritone sax (vocal on track 5)
Plus the RAI Orchestra conducted by Tony Scott (tracks 1-2, 5 &10) Puccio Roelens (track 3) Cicci Santucci (track 4) Roberto Nicolosi (track 6)
Frank Rosolino - Trombone (vocal on track 12)
Conte Candoli - Trumpet (vocal on track 12)
Franco D'Andrea - Piano
Giovanni Tommasso - Bass
Gege Munari - Drums
The Stan Kenton Bands of the early 1950s probably produced more first-rate musicians who went on to high-profile solo careers, than any other orchestra of the day. With the likes of Shorty Rogers, Bill Holman, Shelly Manne, Art Pepper and Bud Shank in the band, the fact that Frank Rosolino and Conte Candoli were part of that elite group is not unusual. Tony Scott came to prominence on a different track through Minton's Playhouse in New York in the late 40s and early 50s, where bebop was the fashion statement.
Rosolino, Candoli and Scott were brought together for this Live In Rome 1973 date and a subsequent Milan outing because of their Italian heritage (Scott's birth name was Anthony Sciacca). While they were the featured performers, they did not appear on all tracks either collectively or separately.
The disc opens with a Scott original, Jazz Theme Variations, which is a real swinger with some strong unidentified solos by members of the RAI Orchestra but which loses some punch with the introduction of the members of the orchestra part-way through the piece. Next up is another Scott composition, Nina's Dance, with all three featured players taking solos, but with Scott's dissonant clarinet playing soaring over the orchestra. One might not have expected the RAI orchestra to have any chops but that would be wrong. In three pieces starting with Thinking of Anita (which has some of Duke Pearson's New Girl-like touches), A Piece For Peace and finally Opus Jazz showcasing drumming by Vincenzo Restuccia and strong organ playing by Antonello Vannucchi, the orchestra displays tight ensemble work, structure, and the ability to swing.
The remainder of the disc, apart from Scott's tune Jazz Tarantella, which is a combination of a traditional Italian tarantella done with a jazz flavour, showcases the featured players either as soloists or in some other permutation. There are some arresting performances on several tracks, especially Rosolino's staccato playing on Sweet and Lovely and Scott's clarinet-like baritone work on Sophisticated Lady. There are also a couple of misses such as the Rosolino/Scott scat vocals on The Gosspers and the similar interpretation given by Rosolino/Candoli on Conversation. While the tunes may have been interesting at the time, they certainly have not held up very well. However the Rosolino/Candoli combination, supported by an unheralded Italian rhythm section, gives a sparkling rendition of Star Eyes, which provides both players expansive solo room to show off both their technique and understanding of the underlying melody.
While not a "must have" disc, it certainly should attract some interest beyond those who would want it for purely Italian reasons.