Giovanni Tommaso and Stefano Torossi’s Echoing America (1970) SR Records (Reissue 2013 Cometa Edizioni Musicali)

In 1970, Giovanni Tommaso and Stefano Torossi recorded Echoing America, a heretofore neglected production and soundtrack music gem released on SR Records.

Echoing America (1970) with Giovanni Tommaso LP Sermi [Italy] (SR SP 130); reissue (2013) CD Cometa Edizioni Musicali [Italy] (CMT 10039)

Giovanni Tommaso and Stefano Torossi – Echoing America (1970) SR Records

The LP was reissued by fellow Italian label Cometa Edizioni Musicali in 2013, with three extra tracks including two alternates and a bonus song.

“Sixth Dimension,” the fifth track by Giovanni Tommaso and Stefano Torossi, is on YouTube:

From the first cut, “Harlem Jungle,” to the last, “Slateridge Sunday Breakdown,” Giovanni Tommaso and Stefano Torossi have created a hallucinatory mix of funk, hard rock, bluegrass, jazz, and more in this homage to the music and culture of the United States.

Giovanni Tommaso and Stefano Torossi - Echoing America (1970) SR Records back

Giovanni Tommaso and Stefano Torossi – Echoing America (1970) SR Records back

The album, the result of the collaboration between the two composers, also features Tommaso on bass and Torossi on double bass. Torossi recalls:

[The album was] “partly recorded with studio musicians, no more than seven or eight.”

A promo video for Cometa Edizioni Musicali’s 2013 reissue of Echoing America is here:

In the late Sixties, Stefano Torossi began to transition away from films and move toward the TV and production music he would become famous for several years later. In fact, the music by Giovanni Tommaso and Torossi on Echoing America was from the outset, in Torossi’s words:

“destined for TV and background use.”

The fourth track, “Fake It,” includes the handiwork of a banjo player also heard on “Six Miles From Blackstock,” “Dance Tomorrow,” and his tour de force “Slateridge Sunday Breakdown.” This unknown itinerant American musician, discovered on the streets of Rome by Giovanni Tommaso, disappeared after these recordings.

“Fake It” is also found on the Conroy compilation LP, Dramatic Backgrounds.

Stefano Torossi, et al. - Dramatic Backgrounds Conroy Eurobeat (1970s) [UK] (EURO 5), a compilation

Various Artists – Dramatic Backgrounds (1970s) Conroy Eurobeat

This rare early 1970s album also includes “Harlem Jungle,” “Sixth Dimension,” and “Coast To Coast.”

Dramatic Backgrounds (1970s) Conroy Eurobeat back

Various Artists – Dramatic Backgrounds (1970s) Conroy Eurobeat back

“Coast To Coast,” which was renamed “Eastside-Westside” for this compilation LP, is on SoundCloud, along with “Sixth Dimension”:

The UK label, renowned for their highly sought after 1976 reissue of Stefano Torossi’s Feelings also included “Dance Tomorrow” in another early 70s compilation album, Going West / Two Guitars.

Going West - Two Guitars (1970s) Conroy Eurobeat [UK] (EURO 7)

Various Artists – Going West / Two Guitars (1970s) Conroy Eurobeat

Conroy Eurobeat rechristened this classic Tommaso-Torossi track “Freight Car Rider” for this collection, which also has Tommaso and Torossi’s “Plain Folks” (aka “Slateridge Sunday Breakdown”) and “Rest Your Wagon” (aka “Six Miles From Blackstock”).

Going West - Two Guitars (1970s) Conroy Eurobeat back

Various Artists – Going West / Two Guitars (1970s) Conroy Eurobeat back

Whether driving beats, twangy guitars, or funky bass lines,” Echoing America is an album full of sonic surprises.

The seventh track, Metropolis, is on YouTube:

The 2013 reissue of Echoing America, limited to 500 CDs, is currently available from Cometa Edizioni Musicali, a version offering three extra tracks including two alternates and “Policeman,” a bonus song not found on the 1970 SR Records LP.

“Coast To Coast,” along with “Sixth Dimension” and “Metropolis,” are also currently available on the compilation Stroboscopica Vol. 2: 70’s Psychofunk Jazz Beats for Erotic Thrilling Action that was released by Italy’s Plastic Records in CD and LP in 1999.

Stroboscopica Vol. 2 (1999) Plastic Records [Italy] (PL 007), a compilation

Various Artists – Stroboscopica Vol. 2: 70’s Psychofunk Jazz Beats for Erotic Thrilling Action (1999) Plastic Records

A video album with five tracks from Echoing America and a promo is on YouTube:

More from Giovanni Tommaso

A selection of seven album cuts, two live clips, and an interview with renowned jazz bass player, composer, arranger, and band leader Giovanni Tommaso. Besides working with players like Chet Baker, Kenny Clarke, Franco D’Andrea, Kenny Drew, Gil Evans, Art Farmer, Claudio Fasoli, Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin, John Lewis (see video clip below), Max Roach, and Sonny Rollins, Tommaso was a longtime co-director of the Berklee Summer School at Umbria Jazz Clinics in Italy and was recently awarded a Berklee College of Music honorary doctor of music degree. Here’s the playlist, which includes:

  • “Square Dance in Tokio” with Tommaso on bass and organ 1972 album cut
  • “Django” with pianist John Lewis, drummer Tullio De Piscopo, and percussionist Jonathan Scully live
  • “Novembre” with the Giovanni Tommaso Quintet including Flavio Boltro on trumpet, Roberto Gatto on drums, Danilo Rea on piano, and Tommaso on bass 1988 album cut
  • “Techno Jazz” with the Giovanni Tommaso Quintet including Paolo Fresu on flugelhorn, Piero Lodice on drums, Danilo Rea on piano, Piero Tonolo on tenor sax, and Tommaso on bass 1998 album cut
  • “O zone mio” with the Giovanni Tommaso Quintet including Flavio Boltro on trumpet, Roberto Gatto on drums, Danilo Rea on piano, and Tommaso on bass 1988 album cut
  • Barney Kessel Trio with Giovanni Tommaso on double bass and Vincenzo Restuccia and Daniel Humair on drums 1968
  • “Profumo di donna (Woman’s Perfume)” with Tommasso-Rava Quartet including Stefano Bollani on piano, Roberto Gatto on drums, Enrico Rava on saxophone, and Tommasso on bass 2005 album cut video
  • “Bambini salvate la terra” with the Giovanni Tommaso Quintet including Bebo Ferra on guitar, Claudio Filippini on piano, Anthony Pinciotti on drums, Daniele Scannapiece on saxophone, and Tommaso on bass 2007 album cut
  • bassist Giovanni Tommaso with drummer Franco Mondini and pianist Amedeo Tommasi live 2012
  • interview with Giovanni Tommaso in 2011

Stefano Torossi has also made several albums with pianist Vito Tommaso, Giovanni’s brother, including two Costanza Records’ releases: Musica per commenti sonori in 1969 and Musica per commenti sonori: The Seventies in 1998. In 2013 an album drawing material from these earlier LPs, Vintage Jazz, Pop & Rock, was released as a download by Deneb Records. This also features saxophone player and fellow composer Sandro Brugnolini.

Note: A special thanks to Gianni aka Cesare Barbetta of Boxes of Toys, an outstanding online resource for out-of-print and hard-to-find library, production, soundtrack, jazz and other types of cosmic music, who provided the initial referral to what seems to be the only shop in the world carrying the Echoing America CD.

An exclusive interview with Giovanni Tommaso in which he discusses his first trip to New York, hanging out with Chet Baker, and adds some fascinating details about making Echoing America with Stefano Torossi is HERE.

About Formosa Coweater

writer based in the Pacific Rim

Posted on 18 December 2013, in Album Spotlight and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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