The album Songs for Duke comes from a musical collaboration that started over two years ago at the Archduke jazz Club in London’s South Bank between pianist Bruno d’Ambra and guitarist Francesco Lo Castro.
The pair wanted to pay homage to the harmonic style and melodic clarity of Duke Ellington’s jazz pieces as well as to the art of jazz improvisation, which features here in a tasteful, sophisticated way.
Given the wealth of recordings that present arrangements of Duke’s music, the pair wanted to get further into the bones of his compositional style and so decided to write pieces with the flavour of Duke’s sophisticated harmonic structures and beautiful melodic lines. The result is this elegant collection of tunes.
The roles of a jazz pianist and jazz guitarist can be similar and often it can be hard to achieve the required balance when both are featured together, particularly from a duo perspective. However, the respect and sense of space that Bruno and Francesco provide each other is evident on this album, which results in effortless enjoyment for the listener.