The power of a strong melody has always inspired Tony Foster as a pianist and composer. The inspiration for “Project Paradiso” arose from the influence and recognition that strong melodies have had across all genres of film, and the ability of these melodies to elevate the films themselves.
Many of our favorite films would be diminished immeasurably were it not for the moods, emotions, and drama created by the accompanying music. Two iconic film composers that perfected this craft have been the Italian composer Ennio Morricone and the American-Italian Henry Mancini. The influence of these two composers has resulted in this recording in which Foster has arranged and adapted nine of their film compositions for the classic jazz piano trio format.
These nine songs include some extremely well-known and recognizable melodies but also some less-known which Foster was drawn to and felt would fit well with his trio. The tenth song on the album is a Foster original melody paying tribute to Henry Mancini entitled “Mr. Mancini.” It's important to note that one thing Foster shares with both Morricone and Mancini is their Italian heritage. Foster's great-grandfather Giovanni (John) Pompilio came to the USA around 1900 from Bari, Italy, and was an oboist and professor of music who lived in Chicago,IL, Winnipeg Manitoba, and Calgary Alberta Canada.
Joining Foster at the piano for this cinematic performance is Canadian drummer Joe Poole and Seattle’s Nate Parker on the bass. Recorded at Seattle’s Jack Straw Cultural Center in October of 2016, Foster, Poole, and Parker’s performances offer an artistic take on the material which swings, grooves, flows, sometimes explodes, while at other times is filled with romance.
Ennio Morricone is a composer, orchestrator, conductor, and former trumpet player who was born November 10th, 1928 in Rome, Italy. Over the past seven decades, Morricone has composed over 500 scores for cinema and television, as well as over 100 classical works. His filmography includes over 70 award-winning films, including all Sergio Leone films since the Dollars Trilogy (such as Once Upon a Time in the West and Once Upon a Time in America), all Giuseppe Tornatore films (since Cinema Paradiso), The Battle of Algiers, 1900, Exorcist II, Days of Heaven, several major films in French cinema, in particular the comedy trilogy La Cage aux Folles I,II, III and Le Professionnel, The Thing, The Mission, The Untouchables, Bugsy, In the Line of Fire, Disclosure, Mission to Mars, Ripley's Game, The Best Offer, and The Hateful Eight. At age 87, he is the oldest winner of a competitive Oscar. He received an Oscar in 2016 for Best Original Score for The Hateful Eight. His musical artistry has touched millions to be sure. Morricone continues to perform and compose music today!
Enrico Nicola "Henry" Mancini was an American composer, conductor and arranger born April 16th, 1924 in Cleveland Ohio who is best remembered for his film and television scores. Often cited as one of the greatest composers in the history of film, he won four Academy Awards, a Golden Globe, and twenty Grammy Awards, plus a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995.
His best known works include the jazz-idiom theme to The Pink Panther film series ("The Pink Panther Theme"), his "Moon River" to Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the theme to the Peter Gunn television series. The Peter Gunn theme won the first Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Mancini also had a long collaboration on film scores with the film director Blake Edwards.