Melodrum: The Man, The Earth, The Sky


  • Artist(s): Francesco Brancato, MELODRUM Trio, Salvatore Maltana, Salvatore Spano
  • Composer(s): MELODRUM Trio
  • EAN Code: 7.46160915241
  • Edition: Da Vinci Jazz
  • Format: 1 Cd
  • Genre: Chamber, Choir, Vocal
  • Instrumentation: Chorus, Double-Bass, Drums, Piano, Voice
  • Period: Contemporary
  • Publication year: 2023
SKU: C00678 Category:

Additional information


, , ,


EAN Code




, ,


, , , ,


Publication year


It is common knowledge that, for a quite a long time, the panorama of jazz production in Italy has been reaching levels of a very high quality. Without detracting anything from the value of many CD recordings (which are systematically produced by increasingly interesting figures in the Mediterranean Peninsula), one should however note that, in many cases, performances and interpretative skills are excellent, but the deep value of those productions remains vaguely ethereal; it appears to be confined within the boundaries of “properly performed” productions, which however remain poor in content. The itinerary of Melodrum, signed by Salvatore Spano, Salvatore Maltana and Francesco Brancato, began nearly ten years ago, in 2015. They had the demanding idea of succeeding in an enterprise attempted by many, i.e. to build a new and original path which could have creative affinities with both tradition and avantgarde. In their own words, they sought “a kind of global music, capable of entering a dialogue with the audience and fascinating it without falling into the traps of revivalism, of déjà vu, or of experimentation as an end in itself”. After two interesting works, such as Perspectives (2015), dedicated to some female figures in the world of opera, and Tony’s Dream (2018), inspired by the abstract re-elaboration of Antonio Vivaldi’s visionary musical world, the Trio’s creative intelligence and taste enters with a surprising naturalness within territories which are perhaps easy to imagine, but immensely difficult to conquer.
Let us write this immediately: what first strikes in this Trio’s contemporary reality is the fact that they play extremely well, but they also have in mind a precise feeling for balance, from the exquisitely musicological and philosophical viewpoint. In the wide ocean of the musical world, there exist many bombastic designs which hide the feebleness of either of these components. Nearly always, as already mentioned, it is precisely the project which reveals its frailty. As experience teaches, the best teacher is time. Time taught understanding to the three members of Melodrum; they were given the idea of elaborating that very concept of a compositional and performative balance which their research was analyzing. The Man, The Earth, The Sky is precisely the summary of that research. What pleases so much is that such an imposing subject as the one suggested by the title is explored within seven simple and straightforward pieces, rather than in a plausible, and perhaps logical, operation lasting a couple of hours, but which would have quickly exhausted its drive. The result is a CD demonstrating a seldom-found maturity, capable of purposefully presenting the intense and possible relationship between spirituality and music. In order not to get lost in such a field, the Trio wisely relies on mainstream jazz, and on what has been learnt and digested, later to stretch its wings and fly beyond the fence, into the territories mentioned a few lines earlier. When the actors of a music ensemble manage to do this, it means for them to have understood that balance might easily train one to seek for yet another balance through a simple change in perspective. This means grasping the possibility of varying, and of safely moving within seemingly different worlds. In other words, being capable of creating art. Bravura, as in Libre – the work’s second episode – also means proposing with nonchalance a journey within sound traditions capable of moving between Gregorian plainchant and liturgical chorales, with the surprising intervention of crystal-clear vocal presences such as those offered by the Choir “Voci Bianche Lasalliane” of Grugliasco (Turin). Without stopping in order to admire a meditation, the recorded tracks’ pace further displaces the balances, playing with the Western and contemporary energy of Elevation. It is capable of rewarding the Trio’s interplay, with Spano’s sparkling pianism, Maltana’s powerful bowing and Brancato’s constantly attentive and active drumming. The seven-odd minutes of the medley lending its title to the album are instead the climax gathering this recording’s meaning. Every protagonist’s subjective style and the feeling of a shared research find the mutually penetrating result of the various perspectives at play. There are three soloistic moments which serve to explain the ensemble in itself. Under some aspects, this is genius. To understand it better, just close to the cited piece, we find the flow (somewhat bluesy, somewhat prog) of Alma Hundida; in its closing, it gives us, with a touch of modernity and style, an excerpt from a touching politico-social appeal by Thomas Sankara (the former President of Burkina Faso), found in one of his institutional interventions.
More surprises are in store, though. Francesco Brancato’s evocative drum is the background to a short pearl from the tradition of the Northern-American natives, the Algonkin Blackfeet; this is told by the heart and by the light – while also deep – voice of Michela Atzeni, an actress, dubber and performer. This is all gathered in Shunka Manito, where Spano’s touch is capable of resuming a total expressivity, and of uniting, à la Abdullah Ibrahim, the Afro-American music’s basic sound gestures in themselves. Without special effects or fireworks, with the concluding Esperanto the Trio brings us toward light – perhaps the light of knowledge? – after the initial, shared-time Sequenza in Blue had opened the doors to the work’s essence. A careful handling of the recording’s sound, signed by Marti Jane Robertson (i.e. one of the most attentive and sensitive figures found in the recording studios of our latitudes) is also part of the story of this skillful musical research. Indeed, good cakes cannot lack the cherry on top.

Vittorio Albani, November 2022.


Francesco Brancato graduated in Jazz drums (2015) and Jazz composition (2018) at the Conservatory of Turin. He studied with Enzo Zirilli, Gaetano Fasano, Luca Santaniello and Gilson Silveira, and he participated in exchange/study programs with New York’s Juilliard School (2013-6). He cooperated with some of the most important Italian and foreign musicians of the contemporary jazz panorama, i.e. Furio Di Castri, Dado Moroni, Emanuele Cisi, Bebo Ferra, Marti Jane Robertson, Giampaolo Casati, Mauro Battisti, Raphael Imbert, Joe Alessi, Tony McManus and others. He participated in numerous tours, festivals, and jazz seasons of an international standing, in Russia, Senegal, France, Germany, Switzerland and Central Europe, performing at the jazz festivals of Saarwellingen, Fesfop, Ducasse De Mons, Italiart, Aurillac International Street Theater, Langnau Jazz, Time in Jazz, Nuoro Jazz, TJF Torino Jazz Festival, MiTo Settembre Musica and others. Since 2017 he teaches music and directs the Music Department of the La Salle primary school in Grugliasco, near Turin.

Salvatore Spano, Piano
Salvatore Maltana, Double-Bass
Francesco Brancato, Drums and Percussion

Salvatore Maltana is a double-bassist, who studied at the Seminaries of Nuoro Jazz and Siena Jazz with A. Zanchi, P. Dalla Porta, S.Battaglia, R. Cipelli e T. Tracanna, Steve Lacy, Ralph Towner, Pierre Favre, Miroslav Vitous, D. Douglas, D. Holland. He participated in numerous concert tours, festivals and jazz seasons of an international standing, in Italy, Germany, Spain, Catalunya, Croatia, Albania, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Norway, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, England, Austria, Hungary and Canada. He performed and cooperated with some of the most important musicians of an international standing in the panorama of contemporary jazz, including Enrico Rava, Paolo Fresu, Flavio Boltro, Dado Moroni, Emanuele Cisi, Sade Mangiaracina, Peter Berstein, Gavino Murgia, Bebo ferra, Roberto Gatto, Stefano D'Anna, Django Bates, Jesse Van Ruller, David Linx, Daniele di Bonaventura, Dino Saluzzi and many others. Since 2003 he teaches double-bass and electric bass at the Winter Seminaries of Nuoro Jazz, directed by Paolo Fresu. Since 2014 he is a full professor of Electric Bass and Ensemble music at the Summer Seminaries of Nuoro Jazz. Since 2020 he is the artistic director of the Seminaries and Festivals of Nuoro Jazz.

Salvatore Spano
Salvatore Spano is a pianist, organist and composer. He studied at the Conservatories of Cagliari, Amsterdam, Lugano and Turin, graduating in organ, electronic music, and jazz music, while also obtaining a Master’s Degree in Conducting of Contemporary Music Ensembles. Among his teachers are found names such as those of Dado Moroni, Jacques Van Oortmerssen, Francesco Giomi, Giorgio Bernasconi, Marco Panascia, Enco Zirilli and Barry Harris. For more than 30 years he has been active as a performer and composer in the fields of classical music, jazz, and drama theatre, while continuing, in parallel, his research, attempting to unify the principal musical traditions of the Twentieth Century in a universal and contemporary language. In the field of jazz he performed with many artists from the national and international panorama, such as Andy Gravish, Tolga Bilgin, Freddie Hendrix, Max Ionata, Ector Costita, Emanuele Cisi, Daniele Tittarelli, Barend Middelhof, Denia Ridley, Elio, Ronnie Jones, Mario Biondi, Joy Garrison, Luciano Milanese, Marco Fratini, Stefano Senni, Marco Loddo, Lorenzo Tucci, Adam Pache, Bruno Tommaso, Roberto Spadoni, Mario Raja and others. Since 1995 he works with the Orchestra and Choir of the Teatro Lirico of Cagliari; since 1996, with the Sardinia Jazz Orchestra; since 2015, with the Ente Musicale di Nuoro, teaching piano, theory, composition and ensemble performances at the International Seminaries of Nuoro Jazz. He has recorded eight albums as a soloist, and many others as a guest artist or an ensemble member.


Salvatore Spano, Piano
Salvatore Maltana, Double-Bass
Francesco Brancato, Drums and Percussion