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Trumpeter plays Erie with top-notch credentials

ImageDominick Farinacci is one musician who doesn't have to trumpet his own skills. Everyone else blows his horn, including Wynton Marsalis, Quincy Jones, Ernie Krivda, jazz critics and the nation of Japan.

At 27, he's on the jazz fast track, though he's not a newcomer. Farinacci played in Cleveland clubs when he was just 14 years old and was in high school when Marsalis heard him play trumpet. He became not only a friend but also a mentor who helped boost Farinacci's career.

"He heard me at the Tri-City Jazz Festival with a high school band; we were opening for Diana Krall," recalled Farinacci by phone from Toronto, where he played a live on-air show for Jazz FM 91.

"He was just so kind. He gave me his number and said to keep in touch. A year later, he invited me to play on a PBS special. I got to be on TV, in Lincoln Center, which was pretty incredible. From there, after I graduated high school, I went to Juilliard. He helped start the jazz program at Juilliard, so I got to hang out with him even more up there."
In February 2009, Farinacci preceded Jamie Cullum and Jeff Beck at an opening concert for the British Music Experience at the O2 in London. Last April, he played a gig at the Vibrato Grill in Los Angeles with a VIP in the house. According to a reviewer, Farinacci's "lyrical version of the theme music from 'The Pawnbroker' was evocative enough to draw a broad smile and enthusiastic applause from its composer, Quincy Jones, who was in the audience and equally responsive to the balance of the set."
They talked afterward. Rather, Jones did.
"It was the kind of conversation with him that'll take me five years to figure out," said Farinacci, still in shock. "It was just so incredible. He talked about when he was growing up in the '50s; he played trumpet, when he started out. He played with Clifford Brown, who is one of my favorites. They were with Lionel Hampton.
"So, he talked about all these guys I've never met, who came way before me, that he knew personally like Clifford Brown and Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie."
Farinacci has an old-school spirit; he's more about finesse and pure, heavenly tone than fire for fire's sake. His first influence was Louis Armstrong, not Miles Davis or Maynard Ferguson.
"When I heard a recording of Louis Armstrong the first time, it blew me away. For whatever reason, I said, 'I want to sound like that,'" Farinacci said.
"It was a struggle at first. But I practiced real hard at the beginning and heard these recordings I really wanted to try to play like. So, it became a 24/7 obsession with trying to sound like the guys I listened to -- Armstrong, Harry James, and a little bit later, Clifford Brown and Lee Morgan."
Farinacci's older brother helped get him into Cleveland jazz clubs. Veterans took a shine to the promising, handsome young Italian trumpeter; they took him under their wings. Most helpful: Krivda, a Cleveland institution on tenor sax. In fact, Farinacci joined Krivda in Erie for a show in 2006.
"Ernie has been a tremendous influence. As you know, he's certainly a Cleveland legend," Farinacci said. "To this day, we're very good friends. I learned so much from him and he's such a creative musical mind. He had a tremendous impact on my musical development."
So did attending Juilliard. But even before Farinacci graduated with the inaugural jazz studies class at Juilliard, he started his professional career. He released a CD in Japan in 2003 and it reached No. 1 on the jazz chart. He later earned Japan's International New Star Award; years earlier, Diana Krall won the same award.
"We got to go over there and do all sorts of tours," Farinacci said. "We still go back and forth. We created a really good following. So then that helped me get some momentum in the States, too."
Farinacci issued "Lovers, Tales & Dances," his U.S. debut, in February 2009. Russ Titleman (James Taylor, Eric Clapton) produced it, and Kenny Barron played on it. The follow-up, "Twilight Blue," is due in late May and includes standards with blues inflections.
"All my favorite players are well-versed in playing with blues inflections. I always loved that," Farinacci said. "You hear that element, and it goes right straight to your heart.
Farinacci will preview a few songs from "Twilight Blue" when he plays Jazz at the Tratt on Friday at Matthew's. He'll be joined by his regular pianist, Dan Kaufman, as well as Joe Dorris, Frank Singer and Tito.
See the original article here.

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