Simona Premazzi and The Intruders
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Simona Premazzi and The Intruders

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""Looking For An Exit" reviewed on All About Jazz"

If Looking for an Exit proves anything (aside from the fact that pianist Simona Premazzi is a force to be reckoned with), it’s that a good education goes a long way.
When Premazzi wasn’t playing in the Mingus septet at Milano’s acclaimed Jazz School Academy, the northern Italy native was backing up stalwarts like Dave Leibman, Enrico Rava, and James Newton. She relocated to New York in 2004, but her education continued: While establishing herself on the club circuit, Premazzi studied with Fred Hersch, Jason Moran, and Jean-Michel Pilc. The latter instructor is most important, because Pilc’s drummer Ari Hoenig—whose Inversations (Dreyfus Jazz, 2007) benefited from Pilc’s outside-the-box playing—is the turbocharger that makes Exit fly.

While aggression fuels Premazzi’s overall attack, she throws enough twists and turns into her music to make the listener expect anything and assume nothing. The opener “Smokersion” teaches this lesson right off the bat. Premazzi comes out smoking herself, lying down a forceful, insistent riff worthy of McCoy Tyner. But with one flick of her fingers, she drops the listener into a soft, beautiful space, far removed from the craziness of the opening salvo. Don’t get used to it, because Premazzi flings the tune back into the tumult after a few brief moments. “Smokersion” resolves into breakneck swing driven by Hoenig’s volcanic drums and Joe Sanders’ pulsing bass, but be prepared for the side trip into a whirling waltz that both unnerves and delights.

Hoenig must love uncompromising piano players, because he rises eagerly to the challenge of Premazzi’s intense material. His injections of energy on the stirring “Four O’Clock” helps elevate the Premazzi original to a great height, and his abrupt explosive fills on “Prayer for Robert” slap exclamation points on Premazzi’s swinging sound. Sanders isn’t content to simply lay the foundation on Exit: His resonant in-the-clear solo on “Ale’s Dog” starts a chain reaction that results in a wonderfully unpredictable composition, and his counter-solo on “Junkie Paper Dragon” adds to the tune’s electric texture.

Premazzi applies her free-wheeling style to originals and standards. She teams with Hoenig on a first-class deconstruction of the Gershwins’ “But Not for Me”; the original melody is never completely abandoned, but the wistfulness of the lyric is savagely replaced by a protagonist who rejoices in rebellion against all things sappy. Johnny Mercer’s “Autumn Leaves” has a Latin undertone that feels both uncharacteristic and appropriate at the same time, and Cole Porter’s “Just One of Those Things” comes at you from all directions, as if all three players are attacking you at once.

Thanks to exciting releases by Bill Charlap, Steve Kuhn and Jackson Harrison, it’s already been a banner year for piano-trio discs. Looking for an Exit stands proudly next to these offerings, as well it should. Simona Premazzi is a shining product of an outstanding education; she should have no trouble negotiating jazz’ School of Hard Knocks.
- J. Hunter


“Inside In” Simona Premazzi and THE iNTRUDERS (2009)
"Looking For An Exit" Simona Premazzi trio with Joe Sanders on bass and Ari Hoenig on drums, 2006. (PRE Records)
“Antologia della chitarra jazz in Italia vol.2” (Anthology of Jazz Guitar in Italy vol.2) Autori Vari (Buscemi Record) 2004. with Massimo Minardi 4et
“New Perspectives”. She is among the soloists, together with Kenny Barron, Enrico Intra, Franco Cerri, Mauro Negri, Marco Fumo, (Soul Note Records)1999.



Simona Premazzi`s music has been described as "a mix that conjugates fantasy, energy and melodic grace" (S. Pasquandrea - jazzit magazine)

She has sheer talent and also a certain presence that makes her a standout. Premazzi's playing can be forceful, delicate, humorous, or dramatic, and sometimes all within the same composition.
A promising and exciting new female pianist - composer. Bravissimo.
(Mark F. Turner - )

Pianist Simona Premazzi is a force to be reckoned with (J. Hunter – All About Jazz)

A strong, groovy and exciting sound, balanced with delicacy and elegance, sensitivity and decision.
Simona Premazzi`s compositions explore different musical worlds, moods, feelings; swinging tunes with sections in different meters and characters, delicate ballads of static harmony, hypnotic loops.

Simona Premazzi, pianist and composer, grew up in a small village in the north of Italy and began her jazz studies in the cosmopolitan city of Milano.
At a certain point of her musical studies she fell in love with Afro-American music and soon enrolled in the famous Jazz School Academy (under the direction of Enrico Intra and Franco Cerri).
During her student career she became part of the most interesting bands associated with the academy, including the “Mingus Fingers” septet (playing the music of Charles Mingus) and Enrico Intra`s “Jazz Big Band”, with whom she spent 4 years performing on the great Italian stages and theaters with Italian and international musicians such as Markus Stockhausen, David Raksin, Franco Cerri, James Newton, Tiziana Ghiglioni, Dave Liebman, Eddie Daniels, Enrico Rava, Paolo Fresu and many others.

She moved to New York in 2004 where she studied with Fred Hersch, Jason Moran, Jean Michel Pilc, Harry Whitaker. In New York Simona Premazzi began soon to work regularly in jazz clubs and perform all over the country and in Europe.
In February 2005 her 4et appeared on the television documentary “Sounds Of Harlem” for CBS. January and March 2007 interview and trio appearance on a special TV for Italian Television RAI “TG2 Storie”

She is a leader of a trio and quartet “THE iNTRUDERS” featuring Stacy Dillard on sax, Ryan Berg on bass, Rudy Royston on drums, Jason Brown on drums.
Among the others she played and plays with: Seamus Blake, Gaetano Partipilo, Dayna Stephens, J. D. Allen, Jeremy Clemons, Alessandro Minetto, Mauro Battisti, Luca Santaniello, Marco Panascia, Ameen Saleem, Joe Sanders, Quincy Davis, Rodney Green, Joseph Lepore, Jamire Williams, Matt Brewer, Wayne Escoffrey, Xavier Perez, Corcoran Holt, Justin Brown, Orlando LeFlemming, Lawrence Clark, Duane Eubanks, Darrell Green, Jaleel Shaw, Carol Sudhalter, Tony Arco, Lucio Terzano, Nicola Muresu, Marco Ricci, Nicola Angelucci, Paolo Benedettini, Paolo Recchia, Alice Ricciardi.