6. Song Without Words
9. For Ever Milton
Carlos Franzetti - Piano (tracks 1, 3, 5, 6, 9)
Allison Brewster Franzetti - Piano (tracks 2, 4, 7, 8)
Robert Balzar - Bass
Jiri (George) Slavicek - Drums
The City of Prague Philharmonic
I have always been rather suspicious of "Third Stream" music - those attempts to fuse jazz with classical music. Such attempts often fail because of too strong an emphasis on the jazz or the classical aspect. The sleeve of this album declares it to be an attempt at Third Stream and it actually works quite well, perhaps because of the Latin tinge hinted at in many pieces. These no doubt stem from Carlos Franzetti's origins in Buenos Aires, although he moved to New York in 1974, where he worked with such musicians as Jon Faddis, Ruben Blades and Paquito D'Rivera. Carlos also admits to being influenced by such composers as Bach, Ravel, Villa-Lobos and Dutilleux.
Carlos and his wife Allison take turns as piano soloist and conductor, although Carlos wrote and arranged all the tracks. Clearly the orchestral parts are pre-arranged but it is difficult to tell how much of each piano solo is improvised. A track like Pasacaglia is in classical passacaglia form and therefore contains little improvisation. Carlos says of Song Without Words: "My main concern was to play a solo without interfering with the orchestral commentaries". One reviewer noted that Carlos "understands the way to achieve synergies between the classical and jazz genres is not to blend them, but to creatively juxtapose them" and this may explain why the attempt at fusion works as well as it does.
Carlos admits that the title-track "was conceived after Ravel's Concerto in G", underlining the possible symbiosis between classical and jazz, since Ravel was manifestly influenced by jazz. Yet few tracks have the swing which is germane to so much jazz and some tracks might justly be described as light music, with the jazz content not very prominent. This feeling is accentuated by the fact that the bassist and drummer mostly seem to be tucked away in the background. The compensating factor is the Latin-American feel which, in tracks like Serenata adds an attractive lilt to the music. Another engaging track is Iguazu, inspired by Carlos' visit to the Iguazu Falls in Argentina, which conjures up the sense of water cascading in abundance.
Ultimately this album defies categorisation, which is probably a good thing, as it leaves the listener to sit back and enjoy the music instead of trying to fit it into a pigeon-hole.