The shape of the future in terms of formats beyond streaming Luca Boscagin's highly collectable Ghost Light is now issued as an NFT (non-fungible token), the first for the Babel label and indeed any UK jazz label. Artwork is by very fine painter Aurelie Freoua. Long delayed only a single track is currently available on Bandcamp (the latest is 'Buen Dia La Paz') so this is the only way to get the full release. We spoke to Luca last year about the duo album with piano icon Jason Rebello.
No stranger to Oliver Weindling's Hampstead-based Babel on which the album is to appear (Boscagin is on Emilia Mårtensson's Loredana) the guitarist has known Rebello for six years and reignites their fire and rapport. The pair, going back, had toured in Luca's homeland of Italy and then reconnected to record in Jason's studio in Bath. Ex-Jeff Beck, a jazz star before firstly hooking up with Sting in the 1990s, Jason was produced at the beginning of his career by Wayne Shorter on A Clearer View. There is a Shorter link retained in the JuJu piece 'Yes or No'.
The album encounters Rebello solely on piano, during the making placing the microphones himself. Mix and mastering later was by Tim Bray known for his work at Ronnie Scott's. A few months earlier in a gap between English Lockdowns Luca was in sparkling form upstairs in Ronnie's when on that occasion he was playing a largely bossa nova-themed set duetting with the fine singer Irene Serra with whom he plays usually a few times each year.
The more traditional Italian connection isn't forgotten and is provided by 'Ma se ghe penso' favoured by Luca's wife and a song that has a firm Genoese resonance in representing the Signora's home city. Luca likes music that connects in a roots way with the people.
Aurelie Freoua whose art is featured on Ghost Light above with sax icon David Murray in 2019. Photo: marlbank
In St Albans Luca carves a route to his own rock roots by visiting because The Zombies emanate from there. The duo do a beautiful contrapuntal version of and justice to 'A Rose for Emily'. Luca loves heritage rock including The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Wishbone Ash and Deep Purple and has been known to even make a pilgrimage to the very pub where The Zombies first played to bathe in their aura. Quite an 'odessey' but who's the 'oracle'? Bubbling up it could well be a tune, and a special one at that, from bassist Tim Thornton and 'Passengers', a tremendous highlight of the album and serves up, given Thornton's well known prowess as a chef, a pizza the action.
The single Bandcamp track currently streaming
Luca has been in the band of 'Sultans of Swing' Dire Straits drummer Pick Withers in recent years and as a writer builds melodies from riffs. Pick's dog gets her three minutes and forty six seconds worth of fame in the naming of 'Miss Tulip' in a touch of canine can-do.
Oliver Weindling of Babel records, main image. Photo: marlbank. Luca Boscagin, top. Photo: via YouTube. Link to the NFT which is on sale via OpenSea until 13 June