Raphael Gualazzi’s Epic Showcase
I’ve mentioned before how much I love Italy’s entry this year. Raphael Gualazzi, who’ll be performing “Madness of Love” on Saturday, is a brilliant jazz musician who takes his cues from both the old school beginnings of the genre as well as newer styles and techniques. (His album “Reality and Fantasy” is already out, so definitely give it a listen!) I had the chance to attend an exclusive press conference and showcase with Raphael and his band, with a special cameo from the boys in Blue (and France’s Amaury Vassili was seen in the audience). The venue was a tiny, intimate little space, and I was sitting close enough to the action to see the sweat dripping from Raphael’s brow as he pounded away at the piano. At times, his hands were absolute blurs (you should have seen his rendition of “Caravan”!), and there were a few instances where the sheet music sitting on the piano flew off of the rack and onto the keyboard, but he kept on playing with gusto. Blue stopped by and performed “I Can” and “Sorry Seems to Be The Hardest Word” while Raphael tickled the ivories behind them…unbelievably cool.