“Essência is a joyful romp through the musical landscape of the Americas guided by master pianist Otmaro Ruiz and exciting new guitar virtuoso, Bruno Mangueira. Their musical partnership is informed by their Venezuelan and Brazilian heritages fused with their deep love and understanding of American jazz and the European classical tradition.
Otmaro and Bruno flawlessly navigate this landscape with a program of eight original compositions and two standards. Each song feels like a suite, taking us through a wide range of dynamics and emotional territory. Impressively, their original compositions sound like they could be standards. They evoke the timeless feeling of classic songs by Tom Jobim, Hermeto Pascoal, and other Brazilian masters while maintaining the vibrancy of the present. There are hints of Bach, Chopin, and lush harmonic passages that will send music theory students racing for their notepads.
I love the program’s intelligent balance of composition and improvisation. In the Brazilian tradition, one might expect the balance to be weighted toward composition and jazz, toward improvisation. Essência has managed to marry the two in a cohesive and natural way. The song construction is airtight while the performances and improvisations take us for a wild and exciting ride. Neither Otmaro nor Bruno shy away from taking chances. The gorgeous yet sometimes unexpected harmonies are constantly shifting and it takes a skilled improviser to make their way through this treacherous terrain and arrive safely on the other side. Otmaro and Bruno are our able guides.
Duo playing demands an extraordinary level of musicianship. Every note, every gesture is exposed. The musicians must breathe together and have an almost telepathic connection. Each player must fully grasp the entirety of each piece, as their constantly shifting roles require them to alternately supply melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic support for one another. It’s a daring high wire partnership calling for empathy and a deep commitment to the music and to one another. Otmaro and Bruno embody these qualities throughout. Essência celebrates the joy of two master musicians as they explore the essence of their beloved musical traditions in this intimate setting and guide us to new landscapes and possibilities.”
- Russell Ferrante (YellowJackets), August 2019
Pianist/Composer Silvio Amato delivers a remarkable beautiful album titled, "Variations of Relevance" produced by Grammy Award Winner Jimmy Haslip. Featuring guest appearances by The Budapest Symphony Orchestra, trumpeter Randy Brecker and many other talented musicians on this Jazz Crossover release.
After an intensive career as a young pianist working for important pop Italian singers in Catania, his birth town, Amato moved to Milan in the mid-’80s, where he continued his work as a composer and an arranger. During this time, Amato began to collaborate with a variety of pop artists; his musical productions extended to a wide range of sectors, but the television-cinematographic one received the most focus. Among his productions, the most significant ones are his compositions for children’s TV shows of the Italian network, Mediaset.
Just as remarkable are his productions of all genres for the main national networks: theme songs for prime time shows and newscasts, TV shows and soap operas, sit-coms and TV movies. Amato’s productions also include numerous movie soundtracks, such as for the movies “I Mitici” (“The Heroes”) by Carlo Vanzina, “Svitati” (“Screw Loose”) with Mel Brooks, “Ti voglio bene Eugenio” (“Eugenio, I love you”) with Giuliana De Sio and Giancarlo Giannini, and the soundtrack for Jerry Calà’s “Torno a vivere da solo” in 2008 and “Operazione Vacanze”, in 2011. Amato frequently collaborated with spotlighted artists in the Italian music scene, who have appeared at various points in time at the Sanremo Music Festival: “Ti penso” composed for Massimo Ranieri for the 42nd edition of the Sanremo Festival and “Amoreunicoamore” sung by Mina in her 2010 album “Caramelle”, among others.
In 2005 Amato began his collaboration with the Wild Rose Company in London, and was commissioned to compose music for their dance shows on ice. His compositions for Snow White on ice (2005), Peter Pan on ice (2006) and Beauty and the Beast on ice (2007) were sensationally successful for both critics and audience. In the last few years, Amato’s creative activity has taken various paths: on one side, his cinematographic compositions; on the other, his productions for orchestras and musical ensembles. The latter category includes his Religious Cantata for voice, chorus and symphonic orchestra, his Ricercare in re minore for the sax, soprano, and organ, composed for the duo Tagliaferri-Sciddurlo, and his The Happy Prince, a musical tale for instrumental ensemble and voice over. This last work, created in March 2006, was published by Feltrinelli-Curci within the project “arte solidale” in collaboration with ACLI. This opera was performed by the Instrumental Ensemble Scaligero (directed by Flavio Emilio Scogna and by Gabriele Lavia, voice over), who, in the summer of 2007 performed, The Happy Prince in Japan. In 2009 the opera was performed in various Italian theatres. Also in 2007, in collaboration with the Ambrogino d’Oro, a children show founded in 1964, Amato participates with the song “Dino and Tino”, that was awarded the first prize.
In 2009, Amato moved to the USA where he began various collaborations in the cinematographic, theatrical, and TV sectors. The opera “Religious Cantata” that was initially developed in Italy towards the end of 2008, was finally produced, and much acclaimed, in 2011 in Boston, with the title “Illuminessence, prayers for peace”. This piece marked the closing of the events in memory of the victims of 9/11 in New York. The opera was performed by the orchestra and choir “The NEC Youth Philharmonic”, directed by Benjamin Zander. The concert was broadcast on air by WGBH nation-wide and was streamed world-wide