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Carmen Caramanica, Cosmo Castellano & Rick Compton | Carmen Caramanica Jazz Trio LIVE!

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Jazz: Traditional Jazz Combo Jazz: Smooth Jazz Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Carmen Caramanica Jazz Trio LIVE!

by Carmen Caramanica, Cosmo Castellano & Rick Compton

Finally, after years of playing together, Carmen Caramanica on guitar, Cosmo Castellano on bass and Rick Compton on drums, have released a CD! IT'S LIVE! It's real, and it is the instantaneous interaction of three musicians and their audience.
Genre: Jazz: Traditional Jazz Combo
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Broadway
5:50 album only
2. Black Orpheus
7:09 album only
3. The Goose
8:12 album only
4. Superstar
9:26 album only
5. When Sunny Gets Blue
6:52 album only
6. On My Way To The Liquor Store
6:15 album only
7. Rhythm Changes (I Got Rhythm)
6:23 album only
8. The Preacher
7:07 album only
9. Medley: Over The Rainbow/My Funny Valentine
8:07 album only
10. Secret Love
6:47 album only
11. Twisted
6:56 album only


Album Notes
As anyone who has seen us perform knows, our trio embraces the idea of collective arranging and improvisation. We know the tunes, the chords and melodies, and from there we jump in and try to create a piece of music that is living and developing NOW, in the moment. Each of us is involved is in creating our own part while interacting with the others, bringing our own personalities together with the trio's collective identity.
Whew! That's a mouthful!

What makes it a pleasure for us, and interesting for the audience, we hope, is the genuine musical respect and personal affection we have for each other as life-long friends. We communicate what our musical intentions are to each other so instantly sometimes that it's uncanny, especially to us!
The audience feels it, too.

We've played together so much and with so much interaction that sometimes people think we spend many hours rehearsing to get it right. No, it's just the way we play "on the fly." We listen to each other and react to the music.

It's great fun for us, and I know a lot of you have come to our gigs time after time to see that aspect of our music. It's not just about one musician soloing over a background of chord changes. As wonderful as that can be this is more about three good friends making a new piece of music every time we play together.

We're thrilled that our friend Ben was able to get a recorded snapshot of our music. We're glad to finally be able to bring some of it to those who have been asking for years, "Where's your CD?"

Well, here it is. We hope you enjoy it!

Carmen, Cosmo and Rick

from The Daily Press, June 29, 1984
Review by Stephen Roberts

The Carmen Caramanica Trio serves up some of
the finest music in the Upstate New York area.

The trio, fronted by gifted guitarist Caramanica,
excites and challenges listeners without going
off on tangents that would lose any audience
member who is willing to listen open-mindedly.

What the group plays is primarily - but not exclusively - jazz, and there are numerous elements of improvisation, too. They'll take a standard ballad, such as "My Funny Valentine," and work it carefully, looking at melodic nuances, and the chord structure, and then trade off solos with guitar, bass and drums all having their time in the limelight. The interesting part is that for all of the technical intricacy that's going on, there's nothing obscure; nothing impossible to fathom.

The trio, Caramanica (guitar), Cos Castellano (bass) and Rick Compton (drums) works well as a unit. They've been together for more than thirty years, and they're obviously an extremely compatible bunch of musicians - which is absolutely necessary for an improvisational work to fly. And although each of these musicians is a first-rate and dynamic soloist, there's never a push for front stage.

"It's our aim," Caramanica said, "to reach our audience. We're not up there just to jam, and to go our own way; we want to keep listeners involved in our process."

It's clear that the trio strives to play at a high level of musical accomplishment, but they want to make what they're doing accessible to their audience, and want to make it enjoyable, too. That's another reason why the group "mixes it up." On any given night that the group performs, you're likely to hear not only jazz, but also rock, funk, Latin, bossa nova and classical music. And while it isn't a jazz-rock fusion group in the sense the term is used nowadays, the three try to choose from a wide arena of musical styles.

Bassist Castellano, for instance, has logged a lot of time as a classical performer and he brings that experience with him. Drummer Compton is the author of "Jazz Drumming; Time and Improvisation", a drum set method book. Both Castellano and Compton have bagsfull of musical experience. Each has played with illustrious jazz musicians and each has worked with several other groups before joining Caramanica in the trio.

Caramanica is one of Utica's leading and best-known musicians. He toured as a featured guitarist with pop singer Tony Orlando, and has previously worked as a musical director/arranger/conductor for jazz/soul singer Lou Rawls.



to write a review


Jazz and then some
A lot of folks would say "This album knocked me out." But not me - there's so much good music here, I would want to be conscious to hear every bit of it! There's jazz in abundance, but Carmen Caramanica has a lot of other styles infused into his playing. They all fit and are played with real skil, that shows a mastery of those styles. Like "The Goose," funky and with a fuzz that adds very well to the performance by not being over used.

The whole CD is a treat. The players are at the top of their game and you can bet this CD will get a lot of listening.

Rick Short

SUPERB Live Jazz
FULL TRANSPARENCY: I come from Utica, NY - the same town that Carmen, Cos, and Rick call home. I have been influenced by these artists for decades so it is hard for me to review this disc objectively. But here is what I CAN tell you.

FIRST: I don't generally enjoy jazz - at least not the obtuse stuff. My sensibilities lie in the "melodic" arena. Gratefully, this collection of songs falls directly into my sweet spot – just the right kind of jazz. So, at first review, I was extremely pleased.

NEXT: I don't always mind being crushed tightly into a jam-packed jazz club, hoping to catch a glimpse of the band - but I try to avoid such a situation if possible. Recently, when Carmen and the boys held their CD release party, on a chilly autumn night, I submitted to just such conditions, readily. And it was SO worth it. I fought my way through the dense crowd as I attempted to spawn my way closer to the stage. When I had gone as far as I could go, I was able to see the band pretty well, and hear everything perfectly. The obvious exuberance, energy, and passion coming from the stage was powerful. I turned to my wife and said, "I knew what to expect ... but I didn't expect THIS!" The hometown crowd was floored as well. I'm telling you, I was there when this collection was played live, when it was unveiled to Carmen's hometown crowd. This disc captures all of the skill, tightness, vibrancy, and edginess that we experienced on that crisp Fall evening - without battling the crowd. When I play these tracks I can still see the smiles being shot across the stage as silent directions for chord changes and dynamics shifts were given. And it makes me smile - like I did that night.

FINALLY: These artists are well-seasoned. Their pedigrees seem almost fictitious. I mean, does anyone actually EARN their stripes the old-school way anymore? Trust me, these guys are for real. They go WAY back, they've done it all, and they're STILL doing it. Don't get me wrong - this is no changing of the guard. It is more of a throwing down of the gauntlet. This band is telling us that they were great, have been getting even greater, and that this is where they are today. Knowing Carmen as I do, I assure you that this is NOT done in any manner other than supportive, friendly, and warm-spirited. He and the band are truly a class act - and they would like nothing better than to see countless jazz cats step up and shine.

When this CD was released it felt like living history had been captured. I pounced on it. I was right. I suggest you consider doing the same.