luciano troja | To New Life

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Bill Evans’ musical personality has been famously described by trumpeter Miles Davis as ‘a quiet fire’. Feeding this fire with serenity and intensity, was the close bond between the legendary jazz pianist and the late American classical composer Earl Zindars (1927-2005), who also wrote some of Bill Evans’ trademark tunes, such as “How My Hearth Sings”, “Mother of Earl”, “Elsa” or “Sareen Jurer”.

Rooted in a long-standing fascination with the relationship between Earl Zindars and Bill Evans, “To New Life – The Music of Earl Zindars” is Italian pianist Luciano Troja‘s latest solo album, the culmination of a deeply personal and musically exploratory journey that began well over a decade ago. Troja’s solo debut album, “At Home with Zindars”, released in 2010 and recorded between 2005 and 2009, was the first result of his sensitive investigation into this relationship, with the support of the Zindars family. The album received critical acclaim from industry publications such as Stereophile (“Record To Die For”), and Cadence Magazine (“Best of Year”).

This new solo album of the Sicilian pianist and composer, “To New Life“, is a new chapter in Troja’s exploration of Zindars’ music and its influence on Bill Evans, building upon the groundwork laid by his previous album.
The album takes its title from Zindars’ poem ‘To New Life’ – whose original handwriting is reproduced in the album artwork courtesy of the composer’s family – and is structured into two mutually responsive and interrelated parts, each exploring different aspects of Zindars’ musical legacy.

The first part was recorded live with audience at the Maybeck Recital Hall in Berkeley, California, a venue that holds a special place in the history of jazz piano. In this section, Troja revisits and expands upon some of the compositions featured in his previous album, adding previously undiscovered composition of Zindars, thanks to the composer’s family’s assistance.

The second part of the album was recorded live-in-studio at the Almendra Music studios in Palermo, Sicily, the creative hub where in recent years many works emerged that overcross geographical, historical and stylistic boundaries, including Troja’s own “An Italian Tale” with bassoonist Antonino Cicero, and “Palermo Sketches” with Blaise Siwula, Rocco John Iacovone and Giancarlo Mazzù.
This studio section of “To New Life” is characterized by Troja’s response to Zindars’ music, in that Troja weaves together Zindars’ compositions with his own improvisational work, exploring the emotional and musical resonances he has discovered between Zindars, Evans, and himself. This section is also enriched with the sound of a rare frame drum owned by Zindars, himself also a percussionist, donated to Troja by the composer’s family, which adds yet another layer to the musical and personal tapestry.

What sets “To New Life – The music of Earl Zindars” apart from other tribute albums is Troja’s willingness to explore new musical terrain while remaining true to the spirit of the original music, resulting in a sophisticated and bravely delicate balance, following the very path traced by Zindars and Evans with their friendship and musical connection.

To New Life – The Music of Earl Zindars” is a labour of love that embodies a thought process as much melodic and nuanced as it is rigorous, highlighting the importance of extramusical components, such as friendship, to create a personal perspective on musical expression and experience, and focusing on the innermost human component of music as fundamental and radical in the making of music.


Luciano Troja: piano, and Earl Zindars’ riq tambourine on track 8

Tracks 1-8 music by Earl Zindars, except “Hokees Orrant Ee Var” by Annig Zindarsian
Tracks 9-12 music by Luciano Troja

Produced by Valentina Prudente & Luciano Troja
Producers: Gianluca Cangemi & Luca Rinaudo

Tracks 1-7 recorded live in concert on 28 April, 2018 at Maybeck Studio for the Performing Arts (Berkeley, CA – U.S.A.) by Celso Alberti
Tracks 8-12 recorded live-in-studio on 16 April, 2019 at Zeit Studio (Palermo, Sicily – Italy) by Luca Rinaudo

Mixed by Celso Alberti (tracks 1-7), and by Marco Nascia (tracks 8-12)
Additional mixing, and mastering by Luca Rinaudo at Zeit Studio

Art direction, artwork, and graphic design by Antonio Cusimano | 3112htm

Curator, and product manager: Gianluca Cangemi

© Zindars Publishing Co. – all rights/world rights
℗ Almendra Music / Moger Arte e Cultura

This album was made possible by the lovely encouragement of the Zindars Family. Thank you to Annig, Helene, Karen and Evan.

To the new life of my twin nephews Ferdinando and Alessandro
[Luciano Troja].