8pm Friday 28 April 2023, The Jazzlab, 27 Leslie St, Brunswick, doors 7.30pm
The women who inspired lyricist and composer Ilaria Crociani’s recent album Connecting the Dots are remarkable and fascinating.
Marion Bell circumnavigated Australia in the early 1920s in her Oldsmobile accompanied by her 11-year-old daughter. Minnie Berrington, the first female opal prospector in South Australia, migrated from London to develop a profound sense of belonging to the Australian outback. Young Shirley Howard, with her pony Mary Lou, travelled the east coast of Australia looking for work during the Depression. Artist Veruschka turned her body into a canvas and redefined traditional ideals of beauty. Refugee Gina Sinozich discovered the healing power of art at age 70.
“The stories of these inspiring women offered me comfort in a moment of particular vulnerability, while reinvigorating my sense of hope and inner strength,” says Crociani, who has drawn on her experience of adjusting to a new life as an Italian migrant to Australia for this ABC Jazz commission.
The narratives conveyed in nine compositions by Crociani weave narratives of “hardship, vulnerability, resoluteness and redemption”, endeavouring to paint an uplifting picture of resilience and hope.
‘Believing yourself to be alone, misunderstood and helpless in enduring the pains of living is the biggest and most foolish mistake anyone can make,’ she says. ‘This album is the fruit of a journey of personal discovery and reflection that led me to fully appreciate the importance of looking at other people’s real-life experiences to build resilience in the face of adversity.’
The album, to be launched at The Jazzlab with a killer ensemble of Crociani on vocals, Paul Grabowsky piano, John Griffiths lute, Mirko Guerrini sax, clarinet and keyboards, Geoff Hughes guitars, Ben Robertson acoustic and electric bass, and Niko Schäuble drums and percussion, includes poignant and lyrical ballads along with more experimental pieces with a jazz-rock feel or a funky-reggae beat.
Crociani has collaborated with husband Mirko Guerrini and with Niko Schäuble in the composition of some tracks of Connecting the Dots.
Since arriving in Australian in 2013, Crociani has performed as leader of Radiosuccessi, a jazz quintet specialising in Italian jazz, collaborated with Australian jazz great Paul Grabowsky’s trio Torrio! at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival, and been lead singer with Extasy Morricone, a septet showcasing Ennio Morricone’s psychedelic compositions from the 1970s.
In 2021 she featured as the reciting voice in Mobility of Mind – Sonic Cities, presented at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale, and recorded two songs for the soundtrack of the Paula Ortiz movie Across the River and Into the Trees, to be released this year.