music unites

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"Rocco has been working with me for more than 20 years now... his use of electric guitar, sounds and the way he performs and interprets my writing makes him one of my first choice musicians, both for recordings and for concerts made all over the world.This record fully expresses my thoughts."

~ ENNIO MORRICONE

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Intervista di Marco Losavio su Jazz Italia

track list

01.    Northern Line (R.Zifarelli)
02.    Aural (R.Zifarelli)
03.    Le Clan Des Siciliens (E.Morricone)
04.    The Untouchables (E.Morricone)
05.    Ballad For Mr. Kromback (R.Zifarelli)
06.    Essential Blues (G.Matino)
07.    With The Help Of God, Shine (D.Hirschfelder)
08.    Abidjan (R.Zifarelli)
09.    Aural – reprise (R.Zifarelli)
10.    The Untouchables (E.Morricone) – alt.take

Recorded and mixed by Rocco Zifarelli and Marco Massimi at ZETA Studio – Rome (Italy)
Mastered by Marco Massimi at Sunset Studio – Serrone (FR – Italy)
Arranged and Produced by Rocco Zifarelli
© 2018 ZRP – ZETA RECORDS a division of ZETASTUDIO PRODUCTIONS

line up

1 – NORTHERN LINE
Rocco Zifarelli: acoustic, electric and MIDI guitars, voice, brass and synth programming
Walter Ricci: voice
Dario Deidda: bass
Alex Sipiagin: trumpet
Paolo Recchia: alto sax
Steve Michaud: drums
Giovanni Imparato: percussions
Pierpaolo Bisogno: vibraphone
Yassine Daulne “Africancuts Amazulunanga”: loops and samples
Fabrizio Bianco: additional brass programming

2 – AURAL
Rocco Zifarelli: electric and MIDI guitars, voice, Ableton Live programming
Linley Marthe: bass
Alex Sipiagin: trumpet
Yassine Daulne “Africancuts Amazulunanga”: loops , samples and remix
Paco Sery: drums

3 – CLAN DES SICILIENS
Rocco Zifarelli: electric guitar, samples
Dario Deidda: bass
Giovanni Imparato: percussions
Pascale Elise Deut and Kevin Prince: voice

4 – THE UNTOUCHABLES
Rocco Zifarelli: electric and MIDI guitars, synth programming , samples
Linley Marthe: bass
Paco Sery: drums
Giovanni Imparato: percussions

5 – BALLAD FOR MR. KROMBACK
Rocco Zifarelli: acoustic guitars, voice, samples
Giovanni Imparato: percussions

6 – ESSENTIAL BLUES
Rocco Zifarelli: electric and MIDI guitars, synth programming
Pippo Matino: bass
Joe Bowie: lyrics, voice
Paco Sery: drums
Freddy Jay: samples, loops and scratches
Lyrics joe bowie

7 – WITH THE HELP OF GOD, SHINE
Rocco Zifarelli: electric and MIDI guitars, synth programming
Francis Lassus: drums
Giovanni Imparato: percussions
Yassine Daulne “Africancuts Amazulunanga”: loops and samples

8 – ABIDJAN
Rocco Zifarelli: electric and MIDI guitars, voice, samples, Ableton Live programming
Giovanni Imparato: percussions
Linley Marthe: bass
Paco Sery: drums, voice

9 –  AURAL  reprise
Rocco Zifarelli: acoustic guitars

10 – THE UNTOUCHABLES  alt.take
Rocco Zifarelli: electric and MIDI guitars, samples , synth programming
Linley Marthe: bass
Paco Sery: drums
Giovanni Imparato: percussions
Yassine Daulne “Africancuts Amazulunanga”: loops, samples and scratches

This record is a journey, a long journey in all senses, was conceived from the point of view of the compositional ideas many years ago, shortly after the release of my first and only album “Lyndon” but had a very long gestation, due to many factors both external and personal, changes of human and artistic life mainly influenced by the massive events that have affected the whole world in the last twenty years … I don’t know if you noticed it by yourself, but these last 20 years have changed us a lot, the internet and digitization on the one hand, religious terrorism and the economic crisis on the other, have changed the way we do everything, including music and records! In all this I have been busy traveling a lot, for tours and concerts, but I wanted to live for a while in three world music cities: New York, London and Paris. In Paris, after joining the Defunkt, I’ve lived for about three and a half years and it was a crazy human and artistic experience … a complicated city, like all the great capitals, but it is the arrival city of many African cultures and where their most important artists find a background ready to express the beauty and greatness of Africa. All this has led Paris, always very sensitive to global art, to absorb these important influences and, in musical terms, to form at least a couple of generations of extraordinary musicians and to attract many others from all over Europe and the world. All that already happened in New York since always, but not with African born artists, really hard to arrive in the US… it is not a coincidence that Joe Zawinul has taken so many musicians of the last Syndicate in Paris, even if they were not originally from France.
In the meantime, thanks also to my friend Marco Massimi, I managed to create my recording studio in Rome, the “ZETA STUDIO”, where “Music Unites” was almost entirely recorded; it is my “refuge”, a kind of laboratory where I experiment music ideas with my friends, and a comfortable place to record guitar tracks for various external works. The need to manage, protect and produce the best ideas has led me to develop the concept of my own music production company, “ZETASTUDIO PRODUCTIONS”, which will report to some divisions such as the record label “ZETA RECORDS”, of which this CD is the first product, publisher with which my guitar methods and other types of productions will come out.
“Music Unites” … although there is no track with this title, I think it is an inspired title and a good omen, considering the times we’re going though! Actually I was inspired by all this work, that is, by having put together about 20 musicians, so different from each other, in a project that I honestly can’t give a name, I don’t know if jazz-fusion, or jazz-rock, boh! I don’t really care, call it what you want, I only know that me and all these musicians are able to play so many different things doing it at the top of our possibilities.
More info arriving, stay tuned!!!

the songs

1. NORTHERN LINE (R.Zifarelli)

I wrote this piece in 2003 while I spent a period in London, guest of my dear friend Sergio Sciarretta and his family, his house is near the Golders Green metro station on the Northern Line. Hence the initial and final noises of the train that arrives and departs from the station, is a piece that represents many aspects of my musical research, harmony, melody, arrangement and orchestration, jazz improvisation and structures, interplay, acoustic and electric guitar, voices etc. The big band is sampled, with the addition of Alex Sipiagin and Paolo Recchia with various double trumpets and alto sax, and the splendid solo trades on the ending. I put the voice for all themain melodies, but I could not resist having the great Walter Ricci… I left mine on the fading ending. This is the first ever recorded piece in my new studio for this record back in 2005, which included Pippo Matino on bass and Steve Michaud, a very good American drummer with whom I had played with Steve Hunt. But due to technical problems, I kept only the drums and then I started again, I think it’s the piece that was recorded and built step by step more than the others, where I tried instead, as much as possible, to record the guitar-bass-drums trio, including solos, to keep interplay and intentions at the top.

guitars: Taylor 712C (1980) acoustic guitar, Agostin Z24 Art

2. AURAL (R.Zifarelli)

Actually this piece was thought and written exactly as the version of the ninth track, slow acoustic ballad, but years ago, during a sound check, the drummer Cristiano Micalizzi was joking with a jungle groove and I started to play this melody with the electric guitar at up tempo and I liked it. There is a whole pre-programmed drum machines and sample grooves with Ableton Live, and then Paco Sery and Linley Marthe have overdubbed a tightening groove, perfectly stuck with the digital groove, I didn’t do any editing to their work, just one take! Sipiagin has embellished it with a flugelhorn melody and solo, giving softness and bite at the same time. This song has been determinant in hosting the two DJs on this record, here is Yassine Afrocuts, I left him free to do what he wanted and he made a masterpiece!

guitar: Agostin Z24 Art

3. LE CLAN DES SICILIENS (E.Morricone)

The first of two tributes to Ennio Morricone,  a song that I play regularly for years touring with him, there are DVDs and live records, I did the original guitar theme, with the harmonic structure inspired by Bach, Ennio, among the various melodies, consider pretty important the simple one with the notes A, C, B, Bb, which in the Germanic notation become A, C, H and B,  the letters of the name BACH … in my arrangement they are the notes of the secon guitar line on the last melody. But I can say that in this record there is one of the most beautiful pearls from the musicians, that’s the melody and solo by Dario Deidda, that once again he confirms to be one of the greatest bass players in the world.
To recall the film setting I called two of my dear French friends Pascal Elise Deut and Kevin Prince who improvised one of the original screenplay dialogues.

gtrs: Gibson ES-335 (1968), Agostin Z24

4. THE UNTOUCHABLES (E.Morricone)

The second tribute to Ennio Morricone, also played live with his orchestra. There is no guitar on the original soundtrack and I was not supposed to play any part, but when I listened all the orchestra playing it the first time during the rehearsal I immediately felt a distorted guitar doubling the bass , so I went to tell him , so he gave me a copy of the bass part, heard it and I’ve been always playing it since then. The main melody is built on the diminished scale, Ennio wrote so many themes like that, and they are perfect for a jazz-rock repertoire, what I did! With the unleashed Linley and Paco we recorded more versions, as we always do, choosing the one we like best, but in this case I had difficulty choosing because they were similar in the melody but totally different in the solo section, in groove and feel, that’s what was on our mind at that moment, respecting the authentic principles of improvisation. At the end I’ve decided to put two versions, the other one as bonus track at the end of the cd. Here I had a lot of fun using the Korg Kaoss pad, awesome machine, that has no limits to the imagination in the sound design environment.

guitars: Agostin Z24, Fender Telecaster (1968)

5. BALLAD FOR MR. KROMBACK (R.Zifarelli)

The story of this song is related to a guitar. Back in 1993 I was guest of a friend in New Jersey, Enzo Cristantiello, born in the USA but originally from Casamassima, a small village in south Italy where I grew up, and where every 3-4 years he came for vacation with his family since he was a child . Then he told me a very strange story, a few weeks before the tenants of apartments in a building owned by his family, called his father to inform they had not seen another tenant in the same building, an old man, while from his house door a bad smell was coming out . Once the door was broken down, unfortunately they found the poor man dead for weeks; his house was full of guitars and other music stuff. His name was Al Kromback and he was an ASCAP employee of the ASCAP and was also a guitarist. But he had no relatives, he was alone, no one looked for him or claimed to the properties, so, as it seems to happen in these cases, as the owner of the apartment becomes the owner of all the stuff in the apartment, Enzo took all the guitars and instruments and gave them to his musician friends, including an old 1955 acoustic Martin 015!! Apparently it was not in good condition and was sure that I could not be interested and gave it to a dear friend… but he was wrong! Well, after many years of asking about this missing Martin, Enzo managed to get his guitar back and give it to me, during a Morricone US tour in 2007! It was damaged, splitted in two, probably fallen from a closet. In Italy I then had it restored and now it’s a jewel! I wanted to celebrate this story with this tune that I written, played and recorded with this guitar (the solo is a nylon strings guitar instead) and totally dedicated to this person, when he left this world, to his suffering and to eternal serenity that he then reached, with the voices that recall spirituality, the faucet that continuously leaks drops of water, because there is no one left to take care of the house, a door knocked and then broken down, with the following agitated moments of a sad discovery. One day Enzo told me that it’s amazing how a person, alone in the world, a human being with no apparent value in this life, suddenly becomes the title and the subject of a song, played with his guitar, on the other side of the world… Thanx Enzo!!!

guitar: Martin 015 (1955), Takamine CP132 (nylon strings)

6. ESSENTIAL BLUES (G.Matino)

I’ve been played this song with Pippo Matino for years, from the 90s, he then recorded it on his records, without guitar, with other bands, but the way we played it together was very particular and I wanted to fix it on a record , rearranging it with my sounds, my concept and my way of playing. Because the harmonic, melodic and rhythmic interplay I had with Pippo playing together was unique, I’ve had the same feeling with a few other musicians all over the world. I think this version explains exactly what I mean, listen to his bass lines following my solo when I go out of changes, and then when I engage the wah and he the octaver synth at the same time… and Paco Sery, the best choice, with his groove and bite, so dear to Zawinul, that only Africans can do . We recorded several versions in trio, all live, I didn’t touch anything, as the original solos; I asked Paco to choose the take, and was difficult because every take was special! Later, in post production, I added some doubling, and Freddy J, the other great DJ, with sound samples and scratches, and my great friend Joe Bowie, leader of Defunkt, the band I have been the guitarist since 2009, who specifically wrote the rap for this song.

guitar: Agostin Z24

7. WITH THE HELP OF GOD, SHINE (D. Hirtschfelder)

This is the main theme of the opening titles of the beautiful film “Shine” with Geoffrey Rush, written by the soundtrack composer Davis Hirtschfelder; this is my arrangement, with the guitar transposed a major 3rd below with the pitch transpose, as a baritone guitar. I tried to capture with the guitar the main harmonic elements of the original orchestration and Hirtschfelder liked it. The graceful 9/4 jazzy brushed by Francis Lassus and Yassine’s electronic layers gave depth to one of the ballads in the CD.

guitar: Agostin Z24

8. ABIDJAN (R.Zifarelli)

A tune dedicated to black Africa. In 2012 I was invited at the Abidjan Jazz Festival in Ivory Coast , the first time in black Africa for, a very strong, shocking and full of contrast experience. I wanted to write a piece that would express the sense of chaos, frenzy, disorder, confusion, uncertainty, traffic, and all the daily difficulties of these people who do not stop being cheerful and that at the end of the always try to find a way to smile, sing, play, have fun, be together and be happy with very little or nothing … a great lesson in life and humanity, everybody regularly have to to go to Africa to do a life reset! Paco Sery is from Abidjan, he sings overlapping the eight voices on the ending, I put the voice on the first melody.

guitar: Agostin Z24

9. AURAL – reprise

Questo pezzo è nato così, con la chitarra acustica, molto tempo fa, era il 1996, ma è stato l’ultimo pezzo registrato per questo CD, ad Aprile 2018.

guitar: Taylor 712C (1980)

10.  THE UNTOUCHABLES (E. Morricone) – Bonus track

The 2nd version as bonus track, with the guitar solo on a funk groove launched by Paco, initially half tempo and then gradually speeding up back to the opening tempo, well supported by Linley Marthe and the congas of Giovanni Imparato, and Yassine did a great job with scratches and samples.

guitars: Agostin Z24, Fender Telecaster (1968)

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