Peter Primamore | Grancia

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Jazz: Orchestral Jazz New Age: Neo-Classical Moods: Instrumental
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Grancia

by Peter Primamore

A top-flight ensemble creating unique music that melds chamber orchestra instruments with a jazz/rock rhythm section—notable players include Tony Levin, Jerry Marotta, Chieli Minucci, Antoine Silverman, Charles Pillow & Shane Shanahan
Genre: Jazz: Orchestral Jazz
Release Date: 

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1. Silver Stones
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5:32 $0.99
2. Chatham
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4:42 $0.99
3. Crossing Over
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2:55 $0.99
4. Mill Walk
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4:16 $0.99
5. Broken Promise
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6. The Book of Erin Flowers
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7. Free Western
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4:45 $0.99
8. Windswept
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6:21 $0.99
9. Winter in Paris
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10. I'm Sorry
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3:05 $0.99
11. Russia Through Your Eyes
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12. Lullaby / Elegy
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Grancia integrates traditional orchestral instruments including violin, viola, cello, harp, and woodwinds with a jazz / rock rhythm section and ethnic percussion.The music has been described as: elegant, sensual, cinematic, visual, richly arranged, multilayered and complex – but very accessible. It incorporates formal structures but has lots of room for improvising and solos.

The Grancia band includes 13 players from different musical disciplines - an unconventional, top shelf ensemble:

Peter Primamore: acoustic and electric piano
Chieli Minucci: electric and acoustic guitars
Tony Levin: bass
Jerry Marotta: drums
Antoine Silverman: violin
Shane Shanahan: percussion
Charles Pillow: oboe, English horn, flute, clarinet
Tim Moran: alto flute, bass clarinet, flute, clarinet
David Eggar: cello
Lorenza Ponce: violin
Jonathan Dinklage: viola, violin
Carol Emmanuel : Harp
Larry Chernicoff: vibes, glockenspiel, percussion

Some tech info:

Grancia was recorded with the whole band live in the studio, with no click track, no samples, and with overdubs kept to a minimum. It is an audiophile quality recording, captured with a combination of ultra-high quality digital and analog techniques.

Grancia was conceived from its inception as a surround sound project and is presented as a hybrid SACD, playable on all regular CD players and on SACD-compatible 5.1 surround sound and home theater systems.

It was recorded May 27-31, 2005 at Clubhouse, Rhinebeck, N.Y. by Paul Antonell and Rich Tozzoli. It was produced by Best Surround CD of the Year winner Larry Chernicoff (for his CD ‘October’) and Peter Primamore.


Reviews


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Michael Gladstone

Grancia is a classically-influenced work of original material that somehow combi
It is not going to be easy to describe this album in a single sentence. Grancia is a classically-influenced work of original material that somehow combines a singular gift for melody along with jazz sensibilities. Pianist/composer Peter Primamore is nominally a musician with a significant background in composing music for television. His wish in preparing for this album was to assemble a group of players that were from both the musical worlds of classical and jazz, with the understanding that the musicians would have to be able to improvise.

The most noteworthy aspect of the finished product is that many of these compositions are quite memorable. For example, a song like “Chatham,” named after the upstate New York town, could easily become an Academy Award winner for best musical score if this were part of a film score. It features Primamore, Chieli Minucci playing guitar with the grace of Oscar Castro-Neves and Tony Levin on bass. On other selections, the soaring work of Antoine Silverman on violin; Charles Pillow on any number of reed instruments (oboe, English horn, flute, clarinet) and the multi-reed work of Tim Moran (alto flute, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet) add immeasurably to the respective compositions.

Most of the tracks are large orchestral ensembles with the exception of two duets. “Crossing Over” sets Pillow on oboe against the plucked harp of Carol Emanuel, while “Lullaby/Elegy” pairs Primamore with Levin. Some of the exceptional melodies include “Windswept,” a Brazilian influenced piece that makes the most of guitar, violin and piano, and “The Book of Erin Flowers,” which is based upon a possible supernatural experience of Primamore’s. The resulting composition is melodic and dramatic.

One track that doesn’t work well is a tribute to the Allman Brothers Band. While you might envision “Free Western” as a mash-up of classical/jazz/rock, it’s the album’s one misstep.

Grancia is provided in hybrid SACD format and is an aural treat to hear. Among the other curiosities is that Tony Levin and drummer Jerry Marotta have been singer Peter Gabriel’s rhythm section at various times over the years.

Brian Soergel

Most instrumental CDs throw out 10 or 12 tunes and leave it up to the listener t
Most instrumental CDs, and I’m sure you’re familiar with this, throw out 10 or 12 tunes and leave it up to the listener to interpret moods and what inspired them. Bless Peter Primamore for taking away some of the guesswork on his debut CD with a sort of Cliffs Notes approach. The keyboardist and TV-jingle writer actually takes the time to explain the genesis of each of his 12 songs, which goes a long way to enjoying them even more. That’s something you don’t get when downloading, and reminds us why packaged CDs can still be the way to go when purchasing music.

Recorded live in his Manhattan studio, Grancia leans liberally on his jazz, Western, Brazilian and rock influences, but at its heart this is a jazzy chamber recording with viola, cello, harp and woodwinds. Primamore’s notes come in handy quickly with the lead track, “Silver Stones.” It has a light Latin feel, but gets its title from the wreckage of the fallen Twin Towers. Listen to it—it works. Likewise, Primamore explains that “Free Western” is his homage to the Allman Brothers, with guitarist Chieli Minucci going off on free-spirited solos.

Rick Anderson

Primamore has done something that you wouldn't necessarily think was possible
Peter Primamore's background is in TV and movie soundtracks, a fact which is pretty obvious on Grancia, his debut album as a named bandleader. Fronting a band that includes bassist Tony Levin, drummer Jerry Marotta (yes, that's Peter Gabriel's rhythm section), guitarist Chieli Minucci, a string section and assorted other players, Primamore has done something that you wouldn't necessarily think was possible -- he's created an album of sweetly melodic, classically-inflected instrumental pop music that remains effortlessly accessible throughout but somehow avoids both neo-romantic treacle and simplistically mystical new agey-ness. Granted, the various tracks do sort of run together a bit as you listen, but that's not necessarily a bad thing -- after all, you could say the same thing about a whole album of Vivaldi violin concertos. What's interesting is that Primamore's music is most powerful when he's not trying to rock out. The pentatonic melodies and open harmonies of the mid-tempo "Silver Stones" pack far more of a wallop than the much more rhythmically driven but paradoxically wimpy "Free Western" or "Russia Through Your Eyes," a number that sounds like it's trying to fly but never quite gets off the ground. Even those tracks, though, are quite enjoyable and the album as a whole is a pleasure.

Bruce Crowther

This debut album by pianist-composer Peter Primamore is a very attractive set of
This debut album by pianist-composer Peter Primamore is a very attractive set of original compositions that highlight Peter's considerable skills. Fluidly floating through distinctive moods, the ensemble players all acquit themselves admirably, yet this is really a showcase for Peter as both composer and pianist. Drawing inspiration from sources that are sometimes startlingly varied - the Allman Brothers, English literature, Brazilian music, matters mystical and earthy - Peter presents a rich tapestry of musical sounds all of which are played (and recorded) impeccably. His accompanists here are too numerous to mention but all play with skill and understanding

John Sunier

This is a mostenjo yable chamber-jazz-oriented selection of a dozen compositions
This is a most enjoyable chamber-jazz-oriented selection of a dozen compositions, which are mixed to make the most compelling use of the five-channel surround option of SACD. It demonstrates the recently enhanced ease of recording and production using DSD technology, making it possible for independent musicians such as Primamore to turn out a thoroughly professional package such as this hybrid CD/SACD.

The pianist/composer/arranger sought to create an organic music in Grancia, so everyone heard on each track was together in the studio at the same time, and only a few overdubs were made. No samplers or synths were used, and the overall feeling of most tracks reminded me of a 21st-century, more world music-oriented, version of some of the chamber music jazz I enjoyed so much in the 1950s. Primamore wants listeners to be moved by the expressiveness of his music, and many of his pieces do project a strong emotional message. Crossing Over is a simple duo improvisation between an oboe and harp, while others utilize nearly all of the 13 musicians available. The Book of Erin Flowers has a fantastical story attached to it and is a moving statement from the small chamber ensemble. The most dense of the pieces is Russia Through Your Eyes, which immediately caught my eyes by its description in the notes as "Scriabin channeling Led Zeppelin with strings."

The surround mix would be a wonderful demo to convince two-channel diehards of the attractions of music in surround. It doesn't blast at you from the surround channels, but often the piano and other lead instruments issue forth from the sides/rear - so you may appreciate it more if you don't have pip-squeak speakers for your surround channels. All the instruments come across very cleanly and naturally - it really does sound more "organic" than most such surround recordings. Primamore's publishing arm is named Very Naked Music, and that seems to sum up the general approach here.

Paolo Marchegiani

Grancia di Peter Primamore può definirsi una composizione costituita da dodici p
Grancia di Peter Primamore può definirsi una composizione costituita da dodici pezzi di musica a mezzo tra la musica cameristica e le soluzioni più proprie del jazz; l'album ha sfruttato appieno nella fase del mixaggio l'impiego della tecnologia SACD che supporta audio in formato stereo e 5.1.
Primamore, in veste di pianista e compositore/arrangiatore, ha lavorato soprattutto per ottenere in Grancia una musica organica, in tal senso ha giocato un ruolo decisivo la scelta di registrare quasi per intero l'album in studio, ricorrendo soltanto per alcune tracce alla integrazione di apporti di musicisti esterni.
L'album inoltre non presenta alcun ricorso all'impiego di synth o campionatori tanto che la sensibilità generale che informa la maggior parte dei pezzi appare piuttosto virare verso la scelta di declinare canoni della già accennata musica da camera e jazz, così vigorosa negli anni cinquanta, attraverso il filtro della world music.
Appare ben chiara l'intenzione di Primamore di colpire gli ascoltatori attraverso l'espressività della sua musica, e molti dei brani di Grancia riescono a proiettare un messaggio emozionale energico. Singolare a tal proposito che, fatta eccezione per Crossing Over semplice improvvisazione costituita da un duo oboe-arpa, tutti gli altri brani facciano ricorso alla totalità dei tredici musicisti presenti nell'album.
The Book Of Erin Flowers contiene nel booklet allegato una fantastica storia ed è una dichiarazione musicale commovente del piccolo ensemble cameristico. Il più denso dei brani è senza dubbio Russia Through Your Eyes, che immediatamente trascina gli occhi dell'ascoltatore sulle note di copertina per la singolarità della descrizione del brano definito come "Scriabin channeling Led Zeppelin with strings".
Nell'album Primamore integra sapientemente strumenti tradizionali orchestrali compresi violino, viola, violoncello, arpa ed archi con una notevole sezione ritmica jazz/rock e percussioni etniche. La musica di Grancia risulta così alternativamente elegante, sensuale, cinematografica, visiva, riccamente arrangiata, complessa nella sua molteplicità di strati sonori ma pur sempre accessibile. Ricomprende strutture musicali convenzionali ma apre molti spazi alla improvvisazione e alle fasi solistiche.
Una nota finale merita anche la scelta del surround in grado di veicolare il suono in modo tale da rendere più apprezzabili le sfumature e rendere i timbri di tutti gli strumenti più nitidi e poco artificiosi.

The Celebrity Cafe- Sari N-Kent

Peter Primamore’s Grancia is a majestic union of orchestra instruments that enco
Peter Primamore’s Grancia is a majestic union of orchestra instruments such as the violin, cello, harp as well as woodwinds, that encompass a beguiling album that will evoke any sensation a listener chooses to awaken.

“Silver Stones” is a colorful track that begins with piano, then percussion slowly melts into the woodwork along with guitar for an easy-going tune. The instruments blend together unerringly and the slight tempo changes flow flawlessly.

“Chatham” continues with the piano, which is played effortlessly by one of the Grancia band’s 13 players, as if he or she was born to tickle its ivories. Later on, violin work is introduced and the joining of the two instruments is breathtakingly classy.

“Crossing Over” is a pertinent title for this song which leans on the more sullen side. It has harp play but its luminescence gives off a sadness, and the woodwinds that accompany it are played with a note of gloom. It’s a song that could be heard at a funeral or in a motion picture where the deceased is going to the “other side,” but in a peaceful way.

“Mill Walk” has more piano play but the notes are on the low side and cello, percussion and guitar are also included. It’s a song that is passionate with its intensity, but also subdued, given the other instruments utilized.

“Broken Promise” is another appropriate title as the violin player burns fire and utter sorrow. The powerful feelings generated through this track are enough to make a listener bewail at the though of what was felt when this song was written.

“The Book of Erin Flowers” brings back the piano and conjures the image of a woman sitting alone in a room, thinking back to yesterday and the memorable events in her life all the way up to present.

“Free Western” brings sprightly violin play with an orchestra build-up that is electrifying. Then, guitar adds to the fast-paced feeling, and a get down rhythm comes to the forefront and drums complete the cunning pace.

“Windswept” is yet another suitable title for a song that has harp, piano and is a gentle song. The piano has a jazzy flow to it and the percussion and guitar let out a rock feel, but delicately.

Peter Primamore’s Grancia, is an orchestra lovers dream and has fortuitous instrument play and bold ripples. If you are an admirer of instrumental music, this album will fit your every mood, happy, sad or otherwise.

Sid Smith

my dictionary defines charm as “the power of delighting, attracting or fascinati
There’s a tendency to underestimate this album with its oddly quaint, folksy allure.

On first listen it sounds like the soundtrack to a well-produced television drama series, unobtrusively setting the out the shades and moods we can expect to encounter for the duration; sombre, uplifting, questioning, serious, playful, etc.

Yet it’s obvious from the first few cascading bars of “Silver Stones”, with its sparkling piano and glossy violins we’re listening to a classy, well-scripted vehicle for an ensemble cast rather than a showcase for a swaggering star.

The idea behind the project was to record an album without the usual click tracks, samples, synthesisers and masses of overdubs in order to create music that felt in the composer’s words, “organic…and in someway alive.”

Primamore’s experience as a composer for film and TV, a medium where the clock is king, gives his writing an emotionally directness with little room for waste or superfluous decoration. It’s also intensely intimate, a direct result of the company of 13 musicians, including piano, strings, harp, woodwind, vibes as well as guitar, bass and drums.

Concise solos (guitarist Chieli Minucci is especially good in this department), sensitive arrangements, luxuriant orchestration and an oddly old-world patina all adds to something that feels like “real” music, human and warm. Listening to this disc in either 5.1 (it’s a SACD hybrid) or headphones, it's as though one is literally in the room with the performers.

“Crossing Over” is a graceful melody whose nuances are beautifully carried by oboe and harp, each recorded either side of a stereo mike. Sometimes the simplest things can be the hardest to achieve and in this Primamore achieves a stunning success. Dispensing with the aural window-dressing and letting the music talk for itself is especially true of “Lullaby / Elegy”, a striking and touching duet between the composer on piano and Tony Levin.

Elsewhere, classical, rock and jazzy moods are all brought into service and though there are times when it gets near the wrong side of cute, it nearly always manages to pull back.

Charming may not sound like a ringing endorsement but it happens to be an entirely appropriate handle for this album. Just in case you’re thinking that this amounts to something of a backhanded compliment, let me tell you that my dictionary defines charm as “the power of delighting, attracting or fascinating” and Grancia manages to do all three.

Brian Maura- Hifidelityreview


Composer Peter Primamore's Grancia Album Released As A Surround Sound Super Audio CD


Grancia is a Single Inventory Hybrid Layer Surround Sound Super Audio CD release. The SACD serves as both the Super Audio CD and CD Audio edition of the album. It is playable on SACD, CD and SACD compatible DVD Video players.

Assembling A Unique Group of Musicians
For the Grancia sessions, he lined up Larry Chernicoff, a winner of the Best Made for Surround Sound Title award at the 2004 Surround Music Awards to co-produce and perform. To that, he added 11 more musicians in a group that CD Baby describes as "An unconventional, top-flight ensemble creating unique music that melds chamber orchestra instruments with a jazz/rock rhythm section—notable players include Tony Levin, Jerry Marotta, Chieli Minucci, Antoine Silverman, Charles Pillow & Shane Shanahan."

Conceived With Surround Sound In Mind
According to Peter Primamore, Grancia was "conceived as a surround sound recording right from the start. We recorded using an 'artist's perspective' so the listener is essentially hearing the ensemble as I heard it sitting at the piano during the session. I wanted to create an organic music that would be, in some sense of the world 'alive'. No synthesizers or samplers were used, and the ensemble was recorded live in the studio without a click track. Overdubs were kept to a minimum."

Comments from the Producer
Producer Larry Chernicoff had this to say about working on the Grancia album with Peter Primamore "I honestly think we caught something on this one, starting with Peter's compositions, a truly almost-completely-live recording (very few overdubs), and excellent sound capture. It was recorded in the same room as my SACD, October, with the same crew, but we all learned a little more about surround recording over the intervening 2 years, and sonically this SACD is even better. I think it outstrips most SACD's that I've heard.

Though Peter Primamore is a very successful commercial composer (lots of TV work), I had never met him or even heard his name. He had kept his personal work, his own compositions, on the back burner for years. One day he heard a single track from my record (October) on the radio, and he got in touch immediately, feeling that I was one of the few people who could produce his music properly. I guess it had something to do with the approach we share to mixing 'orchestral' instrumentation with a jazz sensibility. Even so, our music compositions are very different - Peter has more groove to his stuff, but also writes incrediibly gorgeous chamber-like pieces. You'll hear it.

We had a fantastic cast of players on the session, some of whom were shocked when I called and said that all the musicians were going to be in the studio at the same time. It's unheard-of any more! As on my record, one requirement was finding classically-trained players who can also improvise. In the case of Grancia, that included a string quartet, harp, and the inimitable Charles Pillow and Tim Moran (the October wind section) playing every woodwind imaginable. Add to that Peter Gabriel's rhythm section, Yo-Yo Ma's percussionist, and guitar hero Chieli Minucci.

Anyway, it's hard to compare Peter's music to any one else's that I know, although you may hear some analogies. It's deep, but it rocks. As a composer, Peter is a master of tension and release, and when he decides to write a climax, he really writes a climax. It's great stuff."

Listening to Grancia in SACD Surround Sound
The word has been out about the Grancia Surround Sound Super Audio CD for some time. In fact, the first time I heard material from it was during the recent Audio Engineering Society (AES) Convention in San Francisco. There Dr. Andrew Demery from the Super Audio Center was playing some of the top new and upcoming SACD releases and Grancia was on his play list. (In this case, track 4 "Mill Walk" was one of Dr. Demery's SACD sonic picks from the best of recent Super Audio CD releases). So I've been looking forward to a chance to pick up the SACD and give it a listen.

The music on the Grancia SACD has several different flavors including chamber music, world music as well as some jazz, western, brazilian and rock influences. In that regard, I think High Fidelity Review readers who enjoyed Larry Chernicoff's October SACD (see link below) will find themselves very at home musically here.

I enjoyed the excellent use of the Surround Sound field on the album. It really pulls you in to the music and highlights the musical themes of Peter Primamore's compositions. I'd also agree with those who have referred to Grancia's 5.1 Surround Sound mix as being "cinematic". It is indeed.

I'd also say that this is an SACD that cries out for listening to more than just the Stereo tracks on the disc. In terms of highlights, I'd second Dr. Demery's selection of track 4 (Mill Walk) but I'd also highlight track 1 (Silver Stones), track 7 (Free Western) and track 8 (Windswept).

S. Phillips Pellet

Great CD! Very inspirational and multi-faceted.
I think Grancia has a wonderful sound to it. I've heard "Silver Stones" played live before and this CD makes me feel like I'm right in the middle of the music again. Well Done!
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