SONGS FOR DUKE - An album of original compositions by Bruno d’Ambra and Francesco Lo Castro
"Songs for Duke " by Bruno D'Ambra and Francesco Lo Castro is a stunning CD. The album captures the true spirit of Ellington with beautiful original melodies and superb interplay between these two fine musicians.
Broadcaster BBC Radio Across the South
About two years ago Francesco and I started a weekly duo gig at one of London’s live jazz hot spots, the Archduke in Waterloo.
Right from the start it was clear that we shared some of the same musical influences and, even though we included in our sets many standards penned by different composers, we decided to focus on the repertoire of Duke Ellington for two reasons: the love we share for his work, as well as the ironic reference to the name of the venue – Duke loved his humor.
The regular gig has been (and still is) a great platform for us to explore each other ideas and to nurture our musical chemistry, so after a while it felt right to put some of all this music down on a recording.
Initially we thought of recording a selection of Duke’s compositions, but there is already a plethora of great CD’s out there by other artists covering his work.
Because the two of us also love composing, we eventually decided to take on a different challenge: we set out to celebrate Ellington’s music by writing a small collection of tunes inspired by his compositional style or by feelings his music evoked is us.
Duke was a Master who used notes and instruments like a painter uses colors and yet, despite the sophistication and complexities of his orchestral textures, what stays with us for generations are his direct and powerfully simple melodies.
In our humble homage we have tried to focus on these elements: simple forms with simple melodies. Even our improvisations strive for balance and restrain.
And so each tune becomes a little journey on which we follow the trail of Duke but we take our time and our own turns: we hope you will enjoy the ride.