Mario Romano: piano, accordion (4)
Roberto Occhipinti: acoustic and electric bass
Larnell Lewis: drums (1, 2, 9)
Mark Kelso: drums (3, 6)
Mark McLean: drums (7, 8)
Amhed Mitchell: drums (5)
Maninho Costa: percussion (2)
Rosendo Leon: percussion (5)
Jackie Richardson: voice (1)
Magda Giannikou: voice (2)
Kristy Cardinali: voice (3)
Adis Rodriguez: vocals (5)
Roni Eytan: harmonica (2)
Reg Schwager: guitar (2)
Elmer Ferrer: guitar (5)
Pat LaBarbera: tenor saxophone (6)
William Sperandei: trumpet (7-9)
With the release of the compilation album The Journey So Far, pianist Mario Romano has assembled a compelling showcase of his musical life, with songs that span the last ten years. Since 2010, Romano – who returned to professional music after a highly successful career as a real-estate developer – has been busy, with high-profile performances at prestigious venues such as Koerner Hall and Lincoln Center, international tours to Italy and Israel, and a series of sublime releases, including “Valentina,” “Fenyrose Non Dimenticar,” and “Dina Dance.” Now, on The Journey So Far, Romano assembles nine exceptional songs from his previous albums that hang together in a brilliant new light.
Over the course of nine outstanding tracks, The Journey So Far runs the gamut from lush ballad to crisp standard, from wistful bolero to muscular swing. Romano is joined by some of Canada’s leading jazz musicians, including vocalist Jackie Richardson, drummer Larnell Lewis, bassist Roberto Occhipinti, and saxophonist Pat LaBarbera. Richardson’s gorgeous voice soars over the piano and orchestra on “And If You Please;” LaBarbera swings authoritatively on “Via Romano;” the rhythm section of Occhipinti and Lewis groove on “Dina Dance.” Throughout the proceedings, Romano’s piano is the tie that binds, whether he is playing crystalline chords, graceful single-note lines, or percussive, McCoy Tyner-inspired accompaniment. Romano is a brilliant pianist with a thorough knowledge of the jazz tradition, and the range of his expressive abilities speak to the depth of his artistry and to the refined maturity of his vision.
In addition to the entrancing playing and compositions to be found on the album, it is as acoustically beautiful as a record can be, thanks in no small part to the expert production work by Occhipinti (tracks 1-2, 4-5, 7-9) and Peter Cardinali (tracks 3 and 6).
As a compilation, The Journey So Far is not about one player, or one song, or one recording session, but about honouring an accumulated body of work that unites musician and audience in a celebration of the ineffable power of music.
Release Date: Friday, October 2nd 2020