Carla Marciano is an Italian saxophonist and composer from Salerno considered by specialized critics among the best talents of European jazz. She is an alto saxophone specialist, appreciated for her great passion and energy, her strong expressiveness, her advanced technique as well as her distinctive performing and compositional streak. She is also one of the leading experts of the rarely-used and hard-to-master sopranino saxophone.
Marciano has performed with her quartet in many prestigious international jazz festivals, theaters and clubs around the world, as well as in most major jazz festivals and clubs in Italy. She also has a few tours in America and Russia under her belt.
She started studying music playing the piano first and then the alto saxophone, eventually graduating in clarinet from the Conservatory of Music in her hometown, Salerno.
“TRANE’S GROOVE” (with Alessandro La Corte – piano, Aldo Vigorito and Dario Deidda – bass, Donato Cimaglia – drums) is the title of her first CD, released in 2003 by DDQ – DISCHI DELLA QUERCIA (one of the three famous Bonandrini-owned labels, along with with Black Saint and Soul Note). Through this project, she paid homage to the great John Coltrane, with original compositions and a few standard ones, exploring and re-examining his instrumental language with particular attention to his modal period.
Her second CD, “A STRANGE DAY”, was released in 2005 by BLACK SAINT, the prestigious and legendary label run by Bonandrini (the best label in the world from 1984 to 1989, according to the DownBeat critics poll), highly appreciated in USA. Few Italian musicians have recorded for this label and Carla Marciano is one of them, along with giants of the caliber of Max Roach, Archie Sheep, Steve Lacy, Charlie Haden, Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, Lester Bowie, Art Farmer, Dewey Redman, just to name a few.
With this project and the precious collaboration of Alessandro La Corte on piano, Aldo Vigorito on bass and Gaetano Fasano on drums, she has developed a personal proposal, mainly through her original compositions. With a precise underlying concept, the quartet proposes a passionate and instinctive music, at times impetuous and vehement, and at different times characterized by spiritual atmospheres and moments of meditation and reflection. You pass from modal pieces, which are the ideal ground to express a liberty of phrasing that often pushes on to extreme harmonic solutions, to soft and seductive ballads.
“CHANGE OF MOOD” is the title of her third CD, released in 2008 once again by BLACK SAINT, before the Bonandrinis retired and their three labels were acquired by the renowned Italian label CAM JAZZ. This CD solely contains her original compositions, with Marciano leading her usual quartet (featuring La Corte, Vigorito and Fasano). The project confirms her aim to carry on with a coherent musical project having a clear identity, shifting from passionate moments to more pensive ones.
Her fourth CD “STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS” was released by ALFA MUSIC, a well-respected Italian label; once again, she is the leader of her usual quartet. The CD only features her original compositions, except for an elaboration of the traditional English song “God rest ye merry, gentlemen” by La Corte. The album was recorded live in the studio with the musicians all playing in a single space, so as to create an emotional and filter-free music, which is as direct and uncompromising as possible.
Her new album “PSYCHOSIS – Homage to Bernard Herrmann” was recently released on September 6th 2019 by the prestigious Dutch label CHALLENGE RECORDS. It is a homage to one of the greatest geniuses of film score, the composer and conductor Bernard Herrmann. Marciano arranges, re-elaborates and adapts, for her stable jazz quartet, some of Herrmann’s best known themes from outstanding soundtracks he wrote for equally outstanding films, all psychological thrillers – hence the title Psychosis – by brilliant directors, including “Marnie”, “Psycho” and “Vertigo” by Alfred Hitchcock, “Taxi Driver” by Martin Scorsese and “Twisted Nerve” by Roy Boulting. Originally conceived for orchestras, the tracks in this album are arranged in respect of the original melodies, while also creating new improvisational spaces that allow the quartet to maintain its own identity. The album also contains an additional track dedicated to another great genius of film score, John Williams, who wrote the soundtrack for the famous movie saga “Harry Potter”, whose main theme is arranged by Alessandro La Corte.
Carla Marciano has attracted attention from the most important international jazz magazines (DownBeat, Jazz Times ,Jazziz, Cadence Magazine, All About Jazz ,Musica Jazz, Jazzman , Los Angeles Jazz Scene, Jazz Review, Jazz Ru, JazzIt, just to name a few). Her CDs have received extremely positive reviews. Furthermore, she has been a guest on numerous national and international radio and TV programs (USA, Russia, England, Germany, Switzerland, India, Indonesia, Canada, Colombia, etc.)
Her CD “A strange day” was included in the prestigious American Cadence Magazine’s Top Ten CDs’ list for 2006.
In 2013, her CD “Stream of consciousness” obtained a five-star review in the well-known Russian magazine Jazz Ru. The album was also given the JazzIt Award 2012 by the renowned Italian jazz magazine JazzIt.
For a few years, Carla Marciano has been included in the Top Ten list of the “Best Italian Talent” category of Top Jazz, the critics’ poll conducted by the Italian magazine Musica Jazz. Furthermore, she has often been mentioned among the best Italian saxophonists (“Reeds” category). For some years, she has also been included among the best Italian saxophonists in the readers’ poll of the Italian jazz magazine JazzIt.
In June 2010 she was awarded with the Premio Internazionale Principessa Sichelgaita and the medal by the Presidency of the Senate of the Italian Republic in the “Art” section.
In 2013, Marciano was among the winners of the “Best Alto Saxophonist” category (along with great musicians of the caliber of Phil Woods, Kenny Garrett, David Sanborn, Steve Coleman, Anthony Braxton) of the 35th Annual Jazz Station Awards, conducted by the jazz historian, record producer and jazz educator & journalist Arnaldo DeSouteiro, member of JJA (Jazz Journalists Association), LAJS (Los Angeles Jazz Society) and voting member of Naras-Grammy.
She has occasionally played with: Victor Bailey, Paco Sery, Hiram Bullock, Franco Cerri, Enrico Intra, Tullio De Piscopo, Ernst Reijseger, Gerald Cannon and many others.
“She comunicates on a personal level, taking advantage of her beautiful tone quality to “sing” lyrically with genuine passion and a powerful force, absorbing all the energy from the room and channeling it into an open space as would the eruption of a volcano.” Jim Santella
“Marciano is a marvelous saxophonist and improviser, consistently demonstrating impressive control of her instruments and her material most of which she composed herself.” David Franklin
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
“One of today’s strongest female saxophonists. The force is in her sax-blood.” Mark F.Turner
“Now Italy has Carla Marciano, a powerful and passionate musician with a tick and broad tone as well as a fluid articulation. She is equally at ease in a serene ballad, a brazen uptempo piece or an open improvisational flight.” Alain Drouot
“Her passionate saxophone refreshes like a blast of chilled air. She balances strong spiritualty with visceral earthiness and her serpentine improvisations are often exploratory and sometimes quite contemplative. Marciano excels also as a composer.” Hrayr Attarian
“The volcanic passion of the sound. It is the most faithful way to refer to the Italian saxophonist Carla Marciano. Away from the monotony of the jazz prevailing today where the stylistic variety is saturated with uniformity, the singing of Carla has passionate vocation, autonomy of free distinction.” Gustavo Bustamante Mesa
“An incredible sax player. She has amazing “sax stamina” and incredible “saxability”. She is toast and the most of all Italy, one of the strongest sax player in the world and her music will truly ignite you!” Baldwin “Smitty” Smith
“Italian jazz has gained an extremely talented saxophonist named Carla Marciano. She adds an out-of-the-ordinary strength of interpretation to her inspiration and advanced technique in contrast with her apparent fragility.” Francisco Cruz
ITALIAN WOMEN IN JAZZ
“Carla is the most talented female alto sax player in all history of Italian Jazz”. Enzo Capua
LOS ANGELES JAZZ SCENE
“A very skilled altoist from Italy who plays with consistent intensity, really pushing herself and her musicians to play at their most passionate. The results are quite exciting.” Scott Yanow
“I was just knocked out by someone that had Trane down so good and that was Italian. And I was also knocked out by her command of the horn.” Hugo Pinksterboer
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
“A wonderful album. One of the more exciting of the year. Enjoy!” Dave Sumner
“As soon as Marciano began playing, the air in the room became charged by the volcanic force of her music. Surprisingly, she produced these mighty sounds also on the diminutive sopranino saxophone, an instrument rarely used in jazz.“ Chuck Obuchowski
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
“Carla’s lyricism shines through every number like a lighthouse submerged under water of several streams. Her sax appears to be an extension of her body: not an artificial appendage, but a lively and expressive member.” Max Babi
CARDIFF JAZZ SOCIETY
“Carla is a profligate improviser and has a considerable technical ability that gives her control of both music and instrument Carla’s lyricism gleams through each tune and every track sounds like an established jazz classic. A superbly exciting album.“ Ken Cheetham
“Marciano’s choice of tunes evolve quickly into a trance-like, spiritual realm where her instrument becomes the immediate means of expression for her feeling” Bill Donaldson
“Like a shot of espresso Carla Marciano Quartet serves up a punchy taste of the avant-garde, stirs it with the sounds of bebop, then simmers with longingly-romantic interludes.. An extraordinary album! Her maturity as an artist, both in composition and performance, will take your breath away on the tracks.” D.J. Fazio
JAZZ REVIEW MAGAZINE
“Marciano sets a tone that is both graceful and original. The compositions experiment within lush layers of transcending vibes that floats within a sea of spiritual certainty.” Cheryl Hughey
“Her music is impressive for both its technical magnificence and its expressive intuition: articulated constructions: breathtaking volutes, the perfect control of an incandescent material… The saxophonist’s rehearsal is exceptional. This is a remarkably mature disc.” Stefano Merighi
“Everywhere Carla Marciano displays an instrumental voice that cannot leave you indifferent: her soloist performances are always incisive, well-conceived and constructed by means of precise expressive meanings. In Italy, she is the most pre-eminent female saxophonist on the scene.” Roberto Valentino
“Marciano always pushes the instrument to its limits… The music is powerful, fascinating, deeply meditative and laden with expressive tension.” Chiara Giordano
“She is one of the most interesting musicians on the entire Italian and European jazz scene (and, naturally, I am not only speaking of female artists… )Her talent with both instruments is just as natural as it is incredible. The quartet formation is like a “train” that doesn’t miss a beat along its route.” Sergio Spada
“Roughly joking, one could say that she plays like a man, yet the saxophonist from Salerno doesn’t need to measure herself against her colleagues in this way.” Giulio Cancelliere
“Marciano plays with unparalleled energy, dominates the instrument and knows how to venture further afield thanks to her outstanding technical skills. From both instruments, she manages to bring out a very personal sound, with a very precise, lyrical timbre, and she sometimes performs at a wrist-shaking speed“ Flavio Caprera
“The strength and the energy coming from this saxophonist from Salerno sound incredible, skills which cannot be easily found in any of her colleagues. On the Italian jazz scenario, this group definitely plays a significant role, but also at an international level, they are certainly one of a kind.” Vittorio Lo Conte
“Carla Marciano performs as the leading lady contralto and sopranino saxophonist Accompanied by an excellent classic trio of musicians, Marciano unleashes a torrential geniality of the art of melodic phrasing.” Guido Festinese
“Carla Marciano manages to make her own, by performing with mastery and a volumetric, technical, resonant power that is impossible not to let oneself be influenced by.” Pietro Mazzone
“Carla Marciano confirms her unique technical ability as an ingenious composer and instrumentalistwho is extravagant in performing lengthy improvisations… This is a CD oozing with genuine passion.” Enzo Boddi
KATAWEB / MUSICA
“We reaffirm the extraordinary talent of this saxophonist from the Campanian region of Italy , who embraces either the alto saxophone or the sopranino with equal skill.” Vittorio Pio
“Once again, it is necessary to underline the authenticity of her inspiration, the audacity of the sound and dynamics as well as the strength of her melodic phrasing which leads to frenetic and captivating progressions.” Libero Farnè
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
“Her solo performances highlight both the great narrative strength together with a forceful – at times even furious desire – to put her musical expertise at stake during each passage, as if she would like to continuously thrust her music further and further forward, time after time creating new limits and meanings.” Roberto Paviglianiti
“ It is certain that this fine, extraordinarily sensitive young woman is getting ready to become increasingly recognised as an internationally famous artist.” Massimiliano Cerreto
“Don’t even think about taking her for a delicate, ethereal female presence in the macho world of jazz. Here, she fights a fair fight.” Daniele Cecchini
“An extraordinary “Hurricane” of musical energy that she finds deep down, the most vibrant musical intuitions combined with an incredible strength and expressive skills. For me, surely and without any doubt at all, she is the greatest female saxophonist of all times in the history of Italian jazz.” Bruno Pollacci