Lou Caimano & Eric Olsen: Dyad Plays Puccini
2012: Ringwood Records
Lou Caimano on Alto Saxophone
Eric Olsen on Piano
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
August 10, 2013
This CD is a rare fusion of opera and jazz, with renowned melodies from Puccini’s masterpieces, fashioned to jazz rhythms and improvised ornamentations. Lou Caimano on alto sax and Eric Olsen on piano keep the music clear and colorful, with the opera themes in the spotlight, while their jaunty jazz infusions add vigor.
#4 – Che gelida manina – From La Bohème. This eloquent theme, composed for opera tenor from La Bohème, is played with reverence and sophistication by both Olsen on piano and Caimano on alto sax. In fact, the alto sax shifts from higher to lower tonal levels, as would an operatic aria. A piano riff adds new dimensions to the original theme, providing fascination and flourish.
#7 – Un bel di – From Madama Butterfly. Caimano and Olsen do not sacrifice the gravitas and sophistication of this quintessentially poignant aria, composed for opera soprano. In fact, Olsen adds some atonal dramatic chords before Caimano’s saxophone theme commences. One can imagine Cho-Cho-San at this yearning moment, as the musicians build volume and energy in the brassy tone and repetitive piano chords.
#8 – E lucevan le stelle – From Tosca. This energized aria, composed for the tragic opera tenor, is performed here on piano and saxophone with fervor and turmoil, with the piano playing trembling chords. Piano and saxophone take featured turns, even with introspective interludes, but the track ends with soulful angst.
#10 – Nessun dorma – From Turandot. The piano has an exotic solo interlude on this track, amidst the aria composed for opera tenor, while the saxophone takes on atonality and distress. Caimano and Olsen vary the volume and tempo with theatricality and reverence.