KATANIA QUINTET was founded in Sicily (Italy) in 1993 by five Sicilian friends:
Francesco Calì (accordion and arrangements), Gino De Vita (guitar), Marcello Leanza (flute and saxes), Giovanni Arena (bass) and Ruggero Rotolo (drums).
The leader, Francesco Calì, wished to use the accordion in a context out of the ordinary, as the accordion at that time was still mainly heard on the folkloristic scene.
The so-called Nuevo Tango and the renowned figure of Astor Piazzolla are the main references for this band that nevertheless has done a wider musical research and are using sounds and cultural influences from all over the world.
The first CD is called Libertango, and it's homage to the great Argentinian composer (Piazzolla). Here you can experience the characteristics of the group: a particular attention for the melody, the use of rhythmic-harmonic structures of jazz, consistent use of counter-point, and finally a development in improvisation aimed more at "interplaying” than soloism tout-court.
In the second CD from the box, called Nimra, which means tigress, lies a bigger composing effort. The harmonic element is more complex and the music changes from outgoing and expressive into moments of intimacy.
Nevertheless, the group stays in close contact with a more traditional language as, e.g., in Canción de amor by Paco de Lucia, and in the touching Alfonsina y el mar.
KATANIA QUINTET boasts many prestigious performances in its curriculum, for example at:
• Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen (Denmark)
• Pépinières Theatre in Lyon (France)
• The Archaeological Museum in Agrigento (Sicily)
• The Jazz Festival 2002 in Corleone (Sicily)
• Piazza Vecchia in Bergamo (Northern Italy)
• The Greek Theatre in Segesta (Sicily)
• Perc Festival 2002 in Laigueglia (Northern Italy)
• The ancient Chiesa dello Spasimo in Palermo (Sicily)
• Teatro “E. R. Duni” in Matera (Southern Italy)
• Temple “E” in Selinunte (Sicily)
• Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen (Denmark)
Comments on CD Libertango
"Libertango" is a CD full of generosity, humour, that brings us to a melancholic universe with the sun shining all the time...
JEAN PIERRE COMO, pianist (France)
Katania Quintet's choice of the Argentinian tango as a launching point for their music is a masterstroke. They've taken a form that already contains elements from many styles of music, and invested their unique virtuosity and intelligence to produce a completely personalized and fresh extension of the tango and beyond. Their CD is beautifully produced, their musicianship of the very highest order.
RALPH TOWNER, guitarist (USA)
This is an exciting, adventurous and well planned recording. The playing is magnificent and the music of Astor Piazzolla is played with great emotion.
KENNY BARRON, pianist (USA)
I really think it is great. Very original, well played and fun to listen to. The band has a great sound and vibe. It seems to me that this music has a broad appeal, and could enjoy big success.
BOB MINTZER, saxophonist (USA)
I really enjoyed the CD. Really good improvisers. Such nice tunes. Also really like how you use the Mediterranean theme for the recording. The album has a concept and I like that.
JOHN SCOFIELD, guitarist (USA)
Comments on CD Nimra
The music of this band is a unique and joyous thing to hear. Having lived and played for over 30 years with a band (Oregon) that also finds new approaches to composition and improvisation while keeping a healthy respect for tradition, this CD reaffirms my faith in the musical possibilities that can be reached by a group of dedicated and extremely talented musicians.
Katania Quintet not only has the inspiration to write and perform this vast variety of music, but also has the virtuosity to make it sound effortless. The music has wit, depth, and a display of imagination that is rarely heard in the world of improvisation.
I hope that this band will be heard by the wide audience it deserves, for our ears also deserve to hear this special music.
RALPH TOWNER, guitarist (USA)