JAM THE FUTURE: And the winners are Fool Arcana

04.10.2021, di Luca Testoni

JAM THE FUTURE | Music for a new planet, the JAZZMI live music contest for jazz ensembles writing their own music, has finally reached its verdict.

The best newcomers of Italian jazz (in the widest sense of the word…) are Fool Arcana, a Milan-based band led by 22-year-old singer-guitarist Cecilia Barra Caracciolo and 23-year-old bassist Riccardo Oliva.

Their triumph over half a dozen competitors won them a spot on one of the main stages of JAZZMI 2021. Fool Arcana will perform live at the Teatro Filodrammatici di Milano as a quartet (featuring Gianluca Pellerito on drums and Giuseppe Vitale on keyboard) on the evening of October 30th, alongside Costanza Alegiani and Bo!led, on the third and final night of JAZZMI FUTURE, a window on the young Italian jazz scene. And a very lively scene it is, proof that many young people no longer see jazz as a complicated genre, but rather as simple and free.

«JAM THE FUTURE has been our big break. It’s not every day you get the chance to perform your own music as part of one of the most prestigious Italian musical festivals. The competition was tough, but we’re thrilled that we won and that our performance was appreciated», says Cecilia Barra Caracciolo, who is about to graduate in jazz singing from Milan’s Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi.

For their performance, hosted at Volvo Studio Milano, Fool Arcana («It is the name of Tarot card number zero, defining values such as art, spontaneity and madness», they explain) the band presented five original pieces chock-full of feeling and personality, striking a balance between jazz, soul, funk, electronic music and a pinch of experimentation: «They will be included in our first studio album “Picaresque”, composed of eight tracks, slated for release in early November from record label Dasè SoundLab», the singer continues. «I think our greatest strength is being able to move between different, sometimes even opposing genres, and to experiment. We have our own inspirations, too: among them I can’t fail to mention neo-soul Australian band Hiatus Kaiyote and jazz pianist Robert Glasper, the former frontman of Experience».

An inevitable question: what does a musician’s life look like in these pandemic times? «It was hard enough already before Covid, now it’s even harder», explains Riccardo Oliva. «Unfortunately, last year’s lockdowns put a stop to live performances and caused many venues to shut down. You couldn’t even have live music at weddings. Now things are slowly starting to open up again with safety measures, but organizers tend to choose bands with a solid fan base and audience. Yes, the life of a young musician is rather hard these days. We hope JAZZMI 2021 will act as a launchpad for our career».

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