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Andrea Veneziani Quartet - The Lighthouse

GA Russell

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Andrea Veneziani

Compounds His Expansive Musical Vision on

"The Lighthouse,"

Set for October 6 Release

Follow-Up to His 2012 Debut Album

Features Bassist's Original Compositions,

Played with a Quartet Comprising

Kirk Knuffke, Charlie Sigler, Allan Mednard


September 5, 2023

S.gif Andrea Veneziani The Lighthouse

Acclaimed bassist and composer Andrea Veneziani returns to leadership with his long-awaited second album, The Lighthouse, which will be available on October 6. The album features the Italian-born artist leading an all-star quartet comprising cornetist Kirk Knuffke, guitarist Charlie Sigler, and drummer Allan Mednard performing a gorgeous set of eight Veneziani originals.


This sophomore effort from the bassist comes eleven years after his highly praised debut, 2012’s Oltreoceano. The lengthy gap is partly due to the first album’s success, which opened many doors for Veneziani to perform and record both as a leader and a sideman. However, he had initially planned to make his follow-up in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic thwarted his efforts for three long years.


Ironically, however, that last delay gave Veneziani an unexpected gift. He had time to shape and polish the scintillating new group of tunes that make up The Lighthouse. Each is crafted to the specific sounds of the musicians in his band, yet they are also in conversation with the piano-trio pieces on Oltreoceano.


“I think these new pieces are connected with the first recording,” Veneziani says. “The tunes are kind of on the same page aesthetically, but there’s definitely been a growth in the complexity of the forms and the sophistication of the melodies, harmonies, and the rhythmic elements of the compositions.”

Which is not to say that the new songs are too hip for the room, so to speak. Indeed, The Lighthouse is dazzling right from the start—the warmly glowing title track—and remains so all the way through its lively but thoughtful samba closer, “Shunting Line.”


In between those endpieces are pockets of beauty (the gorgeous ballads “Gravity” and “Rainbows”), good cheer (“In Perpetuum”), quirky charm (the waltzing “Twelve Clowns”), hard swing (“Seasons”), and free-ish improvisation (“Bop-Be”). Yet for all their variety, the pieces show a remarkable consistency, coming together to form a clear Veneziani vision.


Despite the singularity of that vision, however, much of the credit also goes to the ace, handpicked sidemen. “I wanted their individual sounds, and I thought they’d work together beautifully,” Veneziani says. And so they do, as The Lighthouse masterfully demonstrates.

Andrea Veneziani

Andrea Veneziani was born April 21, 1977 in Pescia, a medieval town in the Italian region of Tuscany, and soon moved to the Marche region, where he lived until the age of 15 when his family relocated to Rome. At 20, inspired by the legendary funk-rocker Flea and other bassists, he began playing the electric bass and cycling through various cover bands. The routine-ness of the music became a bore, though, and Veneziani threw himself into the study of improvisation.


At the same time, he studied sociology at Rome’s La Sapienza University. It wasn’t until after finishing his college degree that Veneziani turned his attention to the acoustic double bass (for which both work and education were more plentiful and lucrative). He received an Advanced Academic Diploma from the Conservatory of Music Licinio Refice in Frosinone in 2007, boosting a jazz career that had already begun in earnest.

Andrea Veneziani Quartet S.gif

Over the next few years, Veneziani was a frequent and popular presence on the Italian jazz scene, performing at the Umbria, Teano, Novara, and Terni Jazz Festivals along with other festivals and clubs all across Italy. In 2009, he received a Fulbright scholarship to study jazz performance at NYU, where in 2011 he earned his Master of Music in Performance with a Concentration in Jazz.


In the meantime, he developed a flourishing career in New York. Veneziani’s resume includes club, studio, and touring work with the likes of Ralph Alessi, Houston Person, Brian Lynch, Tony Moreno, Tom Guarna, Mark Ferber, Ralph Lalama, George Schuller, Steve Slagle, John Betsch, Ben Monder, Kenny Werner, and Ross Pederson. The latter two served as the trio on Veneziani’s recording debut, Oltreoceano, in 2012. While he loves working as a sideman, he also cherishes the opportunity that his albums, of which The Lighthouse is the second, allow him to put his rich compositional dimension on display.



Pictured above, l. to r: Allan Mednard, Kirk Knuffke, Andrea Veneziani, Charlie Sigler.



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