REACTION TO ARANCINA
“When it comes to piano focused jazz sounds, it just doesn’t get much better than this, as Restivo and company excel at both busy, energetic landscapes as well as intimate moments of timeless beauty. 9/10"
~ Tom Haugen – Take Effect
"Arancina comes from a breadth of experience that you can’t fake. Restivo is the real deal, and his album takes you on an expansive ride. Vivian, Falk, and Fritzen are inspired contributors, too."
~William Chernoff – Rhythm Changes
"The piano man that ranks as one of Canada's national treasures plays here like he has nothing to prove and is playing for the sheer joy of it. Actually, he's got an impressionistic travelogue going on here that starts with a tour of Italy and ends with some good old fashioned bebop."
~Chris Spector – Midwest Record
"Together, the trio captures the listener’s imagination with the 4-part Sicilian Suite. Train to Catania has a sense of anticipation. Palermo Street Scenes is a bustling, textures exploration. Moonlight in Modica is serene and reflective. The title track is an awakening to a new day after the dreamy moonlight of the previous track. Together, the four parts create a striking sonic journey."
~David Reed – Belleville Intelligencer
"Music in warm and confident hands."
~George W. Harris – Jazz Weekly
"...quite simply one of the most exceptional Jazz pianists of his generation that Canada has produced...."
~Roger Levesque, Edmonton Journal
NEWS: JANUARY 2021
Well, it's finally here! January 15 marked the official release of my long-awaited trio recording, Arancina, a collection of mostly original pieces in the contemporary jazz arena. The album, recorded at Toronto's Canterbury Music Company in August 2019, features two of my dearest friends and favourite musical co-conspirators, Newfoundland-born bassist Jim Vivian and New York State drummer Alyssa Falk. The music that emanates from my head and heart is joyful, melancholy, romantic, playful, and exploratory--equal parts floating lyricism and hard-driving swing. Alyssa and Jim have the capabilities and sensibilities to travel down all those roads with me; we share a common syntax, and it is always thrilling having them as improvisational dance partners. My partner, the wonderful Yukon-based singer and songwriter Fawn Fritzen, appears on two tracks that we co-wrote.
Jim and I started playing together extensively in the early 1990s with saxophonist Mike Murley's group, and later with Rob McConnell's legendary Boss Brass big band, with whom we recorded the Grammy-winning album Velvet and Brass, featuring the late Mel Tormé. He has performed over the years with Dave Liebman, Kenny Wheeler, John Abercrombie, Jon Hendricks, and many others. His intelligence, wit, and sensitivity come through in every note he plays.
Alyssa studied under the great John Riley and was chosen to be part of the Sisters in Jazz, a group with rotating personnel formed to nurture young female-identifying musicians. We were brought together by a mutual friend, bassist Chris Budhan, who hired us for a summer-long festival in Prince Edward Island, and we instantly clicked. As a sometime drummer myself, the piano-drum relationship is a crucial one for me, and playing with her is the closest thing to being able to play both instruments at the same time!
Fawn and I have been life-partners and musical collaborators for several years now. Her highly eclectic musical background includes fronting Whitehorse's Big Band, and a stretch as the leading lady in the Frantic Follies, the Yukon's longest-running Vaudeville revue. She has three jazz-oriented recordings to her name, the most recent being How to Say Sorry and Other Lessons (also on Chronograph), a highly personal journey in story and song. Two of the songs from that program are reinterpreted on Arancina. Kintsugi began as a piece of Fawn's poetry that I set to music, while Bittersweet Goodbye was a melody of mine that Fawn added lyrics to.