Charles Colizza Group - Hug the Devil - Winter of 2020/2021
Born and raised in Montreal, Québec, Charles Colizza is a New York based guitarist rooted in jazz. Established in the city since 2018, he has recorded alongside jazz saxophone legend Billy Drewes and has performed alongside GRAMMY winning arranger and trombonist Alan Ferber. He has performed in various world-renowned establishments and jazz venues across North America, notably at The Blue Note NYC, Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, The Bitter End, Upstairs and the Williamsburg Music Center. He is also the recipient of the Oscar Peterson Jazz Scholarship Competition.
Charles draws his musical influences from all styles and genres, from Stravinsky to John Coltrane and from Milton Nascimento to Young Thug. His sound ranges from modern jazz to avant-garde/free-improvised music. He recorded his up and coming debut album Hug The Devil in December 2019 with his quintet featuring Billy Drewes, Jake D'Ambra, Nick Panoutsos and Lukas Akintaya, recorded by Tyler McDiarmid.
Charles' passion for music started at an early age, once acquainted to punk music. He took piano lessons at age 6 and started playing guitar at 12 years old. At 17, he enrolled at Cégep de Saint-Laurent where he studied guitar, harmony and arranging with Montreal's top musicians (Jean-Nicolas Trottier, Jean-Pierre Zanella, Michel Héroux) before attending Concordia University. During the completion of his bachelor's degree, he studied with Gary Schwartz and Charles Ellison and started to develop his original repertoire. Simultaneously, he created his jazz quartet which performed at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal and also won the Oscar Peterson Jazz Scholarship Competition.
In 2018, he moved to New York City after being accepted in the Jazz Instrumental Performance Master's Program at New York University. His time spent studying with jazz legends Alan Broadbent, Alan Ferber, Peter Bernstein and Wayne Krantz greatly influenced his musical tastes and propelled him towards new sonic dimensions.
Hug The Devil, features compositions written since my arrival in New York City. I used this release to demonstrate the array of emotions one can feel when immersed in a new city such as New York. It taps into the worlds of modern jazz, post-bop and free jazz. The first piece "Ground Zero"serves as an introduction and provides much of the material employed throughout the rest of the album. The variety between the more open and spacy songs "Ground Zero, " the up tempo and aggressive ones "Mmm… Yeah Sure, " or "What is This Thing Called Love" and the freely improvised pieces "Hug The Devil" wants to bring the listener to different frontiers by exploring various moods and emotions through the regular use of short and catchy melodies.
The album is ideally listened to as a whole as the first and final piece tie the work together, similar to a "Question and Answer." The rich instrumentation provides a generous canvas to explore different textures and arranging techniques reminiscent of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and Booker Little's record Out Front.
When confronted with solitude and the adversity of the unknown, one has to seek paths that will make him emerge from his inner obscurity. I still can see myself walking across Ground Zero and coming to a halt to contemplate the brand-new plaza and buildings emerging from what used to be ruins. I caught
myself thinking about the name people had given to this godforsaken place. A place that holds many tears, suffering, and conflict. A place which the name is supposed to ignite a spark that will transform a dimmed light into the vivid flame of a new hope. How does one rebuild after receiving the gift of destruction? Where do we install the foundations to ensure that this new construction will not collapse under its own weight? Why attempt to rebuild another skyscraper when surrounded by all these concrete structures whose individual grandeur is more magnificent than the other? I could feel the tension rising in my throat. I left. A year later, on the way to our weekly dollar-slice binge, Edu, Ian and I were having a discussion. I cannot recall the subject, but I do remember Edu turning to me at one point, a discrete smile on the corner of his mouth, "In Brazil, we say 'If you're stuck in hell, might as well hug the devil.'" I could visualize myself 12 months earlier standing at Ground Zero, confronted with its vertiginous emptiness; its unsolvable problem.
The answer was there, on my friend's lips. A chaotic yet reassuring answer. The reminder that nothing is perfect and that mayhem is part of life. The bells that ring every day at noon, singing that we should embrace the madness, not avoid it. We all should Hug The Devil.
Track Names and Times:
1. Ground Zero (5:39)
2. Mmm... Yeah Sure (9:07)
3. Stiff Breeze (7:24)
4. What is This Thing Called Love (Cole Porter) (7:39)*
5. Line's Celebration (Birthday Song) (5:50)
6. Lemon Cake (7:08)
7. Hug The Devil (5:45)
All Compositions written by Charles Colizza Except track *#4 by Cole Porter
@WC Music Corp. All Arrangements by Charles Colizza
Players & Instruments:
Charles Colizza: guitar, compositions, and arrangements
Billy Drewes: soprano xaxophone
Jake D'Ambra: tenor saxophone
Nick Panoutsos: doublebass
Lukas Akintaya: drums and percussions
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