Dado Moroni: There Is No Greater Love

The Italian pianist confirms his insatiable appetite for swing, accompanied by bassist Jesper Lundgaard and drummer Lee Pearson

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Sixty-year-old Dado Moroni entered the jazz realm as an striking young lion in 1980, made a big impression in New York the following decade and prowled the European continent as accompanist to such giants as Clark Terry and Ray Brown. Carrying a long list of albums in his hip pocket, the current professor of jazz piano in Turin, Italy has nothing to prove. Yet, Storyville saw fit to release a live performance from 2016 at the famed Club Montmartre in Copenhagen. 

If anything has become clear, it’s that swinging jazz is here to stay, even when the set list consists of old warhorses. Moroni, seemingly inspired by the likes of Oscar Peterson and Phineas Newborn, has no qualms about swinging standards into the ground.

Just One Of Those Things is particularly furious, not least because of the precise and energetic accompaniment of Danish bassist Jesper Lundgaard and American drummer Lee Pearson. Sadly, Lundgaard since suffered a stroke which has stopped him from playing bass. Veteran of performances with Dexter Gordon, Chet Baker and many others, he has put an exclamation point on his recording career with typically strong and responsive playing.

The challenge of Django, the beatific melody of John Lewis whose characteristic movements potentially paralyse urges to original improvisation, is met succinctly by Moroni, who by the way got his nickname “Dado” because he continually tripped over his real name Edgardo as a child. Moroni packages the homage to Django Reinhardt in Latin rhythm and creates tidal waves of notes that threaten to ruin the coast but barely skirt by the tropical islands of its changes. Close call but mission accomplished.

The sole original composition, First Smile, perhaps not coincidentally reveals shades of As Time Goes By. As time has gone by, the infectious virtuosity of Moroni has been documented by various labels since 2016, solidifying his reputation as the to-go-to Italian piano stallion.

Discography
There Is No Greater Love; Just One Of Those Things; First Smile; Django; My Foolish Heart; C Jam Blues (55.68)
Dado Moroni (p); Jesper Lundgaard (b); Lee Pearson (d). Copenhagen, 20 & 21 May 2016.
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