Eduardo De Crescenzo was born in Naples, February 8, 1951,
in a popular neighborhood close to the “railway” of which he will tell us a lot in his songs. His is a family rich in artistic temperament: his father enjoyed playing the piano; the paternal grandfather was a theatrical impresario; his uncle, Vincenzo De Crescenzo, a poet, among other things, author of the legendary song “Luna Rossa” which was adorned with performances by Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Caetano Veloso… The encounter with music arrives very early: at the age of three he receives his first accordion as a gift and immediately plays it “by ear”; at five, child prodigy, he made his debut at the Teatro Argentina in Rome and began studying classical music with the maestro Giuseppe Bavota. He already has an important admirer, the ship-owner Achille Lauro – at that time mayor of Naples – who hears him play in a school play and, struck by his talent, he will become his first patron, financing his music school studies for some years. The studies were private because, at the time, the accordion was not recognized in conservatories. Press Review Preview.
The first competitions arrive, the “square parties” (the talent shows of those times), then the ensembles (this was the name of the musical groups between the 1960s and the 1970s). These are the years in which soul, blues and jazz invade the Nightclubs: Eduardo temporarily puts aside the accordion – which does not suit the prevailing American sound – and plays the piano or keyboards in the various groups that he joins. He simply captures the music that revolves around him; he has not yet understood completely the musical world that is within him and not even the power of “that voice” that will make him famous. Meanwhile the school continues. After the accounting school he enrolls in the Faculty of Law, gives eight exams, but music fills his thoughts …
Everything changes and becomes real one evening on December 1977:
a friend, who believes in his artistic skills, accompanies him to the “Quattro 1″ studios of musician and producer Claudio Mattone in Rome. De Crescenzo sings a revised version of Vittorio Monti’s Czardas that he has so frequently played with his inseparable accordion. Mattone senses Eduardo’s vocal abilities, becomes his producer, and signs a contract with Dischi Ricordi; the project also includes Franco Migliacci. The audition piece “La solitudine” will be published by Dischi Ricordi in a limited number of copies, mostly destined for the “experts” but the team is already starting to work on his first very successful album. Inside is Ancora, the song chosen for the official debut on the Sanremo Festival stage in 1981, where his voice bursts like a hurricane! A prestigious jury, chaired by Sergio Leone, awards that young novice the Critics Award as Best Performer. “Ancora” it is one of those rare songs that immediately become an extraordinary event. In a few days, it becomes an international success and gives him fame. With millions of copies sold, it is still an evergreen loved and played all over the world. Many great artists will try to present it again; Mina and Vanoni in Italy, Mireille Mathieu in France – with the French adaptation of the text by Charles Aznavour – but as it happens with the “race leader”, the imprint of his interpretation will remain indelible.
Eduardo’s voice is so beautiful that it instinctively captures any type of listener.
It is a naturally perfect instrument for color, extension and an incredible load of harmonics. It is clear right from the start that Eduardo “plays the voice”, since that first appearance in Sanremo in 1981 when, towards the end of the song, he neglects the main melody and abandons himself to an amazing solo that becomes an integral part of that historical interpretation. The appellatives are a waste: “The Italian Stevie Wonder”, “Stevie Wonder plus Pasquariello” Federico Vacalebre will say, music critic of Il Mattino, the city’s newspaper. Extremely courted by all the artists, by the musicians, his recorders will say, “He can also sing the telephone directory” because the thrill would come anyway. However, Eduardo’s natural talent is non-exhaustive of his sonorous world. The sound of “that voice” is the result of a more complex work: study, inspiration, style research; behind that voice there is the direction of the composer, of the instrumentalist, and his singular artistic sensibility. His distinguished admirer, Omar Calabrese, describes it well in 1995 – at that time a professor of Semiotics of the Arts at the University of Siena – in a text titled “La Sapienza Latina”. LATIN KNOWLEDGEDe Crescenzo is certainly endowed with an extension and a melodic capacity out of the ordinary, but he has been able, over the course of a few years, to refine it, making it an emblem of a thousand musical memories. There is, for example, the sharp tone of the Italian (and Neapolitan) chansonniers of the first half of the century, all of them aimed at giving substance to the role of the light tenor. On the other hand, there is the virtuosic warbling of the gypsy-Andalusian flamenco singer, a mixture of power and deliberate aphonic at the same time. Again, we find the passionate vibrato of the Argentine tango singer, in the most cultured version of modern times but we could continue with other African “ethnic” forms, such as, quoting at random, the “sung stories” of the Congolese Mory Kante. In short, Mediterranean and Latin music of vast extension with another basic element: its characters are defined not only in the abstract composition (rhythm, melody, orchestration) but also above all in the execution. When you listen to De Crescenzo, the thing “jumps to the ear”: beyond the recognition of various genres, in fact, in his songs you can perfectly perceive the existence of a margin of risk and unexpectedness, as if the score was only a canvas from which variations and improvisations can be produced as desired. Almost instinctively, so, it happens that we let ourselves go – despite an unquestionable sophistication of words and music – to the sentimental effects produced by the author. Emotions like those of nostalgia, of regret, of elegance, flow direct, poetic, lyrical from these executions, also here in the perfect Mediterranean tradition. Yet we must swear that nothing of De Crescenzo’s songs is spontaneous. The most astute critic will recognize the study, the culture, the virtuosity of certain passages. Nevertheless, this is the beauty of art since the world is world! A sixteenth-century theorist, Baldassarre Castiglione, defined this dowry with the name of “modesty” and, in the seventeenth century, another court wise man, Torquato Accetto, called it “honest dissimulation”. They wanted to say that the true scholar never does anything by chance and that his ability in this can be measured and the public perceives his work as natural and immediate. All of this, perhaps, is also the secret of Eduardo De Crescenzo. Omar Calabrese 1995.
TODAY ESSENZE JAZZ IS THE DEFINITION I WOULD GIVE OF MY SOUND WORLD
In 2012, Eduardo De Crescenzo presents a new live project, Essenze jazz.
“I am looking for a sound that can represents me today” – he will say – but the goal he pursues is more complex. Eduardo is a musician, an accordionist, a composer with an extraordinary voice and, at the height of expressive maturity, he wants to combine “the song form” with experimentations, genre contaminations, natural vocations that determined his original and recognizable style. Together with Stefano Sabatini, jazz pianist – his historical collaborator since 83 – the reference canvas of arrangements, which will include some notorious jazz players: Enzo Pietropaoli double bass, Marcello Di Leonardo drums, Daniele Scannapieco saxophone; on the cello, there will be Lamberto Curtoni, classical musician. It is the “format” that his eclectic and virtuous musical personality needs. The songs of his repertoire are already steeped in his singing with a high concentration of blues and are not particularly distorted by the new dimension. All the intensity of his poetic interpretations of the classical school remains, but the jazz modules lend themselves better to “play” his voice full of harmonics, to feed the impromptu composition that distinguishes his performances. In Essenze jazz there is the whole musical sound world of Eduardo De Crescenzo, almost a biography in notes; more than a new project, it is the mature synthesis of its multifaceted expressiveness. Preview: April 24 at the Blue Note in Milan, May 4 at the Casa del Jazz in Rome – baptismal sources of jazz in Italy – on June 11 at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples – temple of the Opera -. Subsequently, in 2013: March 21 at the Teatro Sistina in Rome; on June 22nd at the Ravello Festival, Villa Rufolo; on 7 July at Umbria Jazz, Teatro Morlacchi; … In 2013 the project arrives in the recording studio but “live” so as not to lose the magic of live performances, the soul of the project. The Essenze jazz album was released with the label EmArcy – Universal Classics & Jazz – A Division of Universal Music Italy. In 2015, Essenze jazz opens up to new encounters, becomes an EVENT and hosts in concert the Colombian harpist Edmar Castaneda, virtuous and brilliant musician; the magical trumpet of Enrico Rava who says: “The world of Eduardo is like an enchanted garden, where the flowers of the blues merge with the moods of Naples, giving life to an exciting and irresistible poetic song”. In November 2016, Sky Arte dedicated an hour-long special to Essenze Jazz with the highlights of the concert and an interview with Eduardo about his life as a musician. Artribune.com
In the Theatrical tour2018 – 2019 Maria Pia De Vito, a cultured and refined voice of Italian jazz, will participate in the concert.