eMPathia Jazz Duo

“As its name suggests, eMPathia Jazz Duo basically shares one jazzy heart. With a background in Brazilian and Italian jazz, both regions inform their songbook…each song is thoughtful, considered, two strands of the same silk intertwined. This is jazz to fall in love by, the soaring of a songbird in the big blue note-filled sky.”
Debbie Burke (Jazz Author)

Looking back at the countless attempts to describe Jazz in the ensuing generations since that trumpet from New Orleans set north, drum beats are probably the most commonly cited reference. How then do we use the term Jazz in the name of a vocal and guitar duo? The eMPathia Jazz Duo comprised of vocalist Mafalda Minnozzi and guitarist Paul Ricci answer that question with spontaneous melodic variations improvised around a popular song while uniquely arranged harmonic templates shift accordingly to the pacing and breathing of the moment. Each signature performance is not unlike those songs from the days when Jazz merged from the popular song via a soulful story told with individual expression. Drawing from the vast experience of both the duo`s artists, their present day popular song is expanded to include classics from Brazil, Italy, France and the U.S.A.
In 2015 Mafalda Minnozzi and Paul Ricci, as the eMPathia Jazz Duo, put their respective musical experiences together in a special meeting of cultures and influences to present a sound that immediately captured the imagination of their audiences at their debut shows in Italy, Brazil and the USA. They completed three CDs in only three years as evidence of the great “empathia” that has inspired and continues to inspire these two artists whether in the studio or onstage. 
With enthusiasm and sincerity combined with unquestionable technical ability and an extraordinary dramatic element, the eMPAthia Jazz Duo fascinated and won over the audiences at their presentations in Rome (Casa Del Jazz, Alexanderplatz and Villa Celimontana Festival), Milano (EXPO 2015), Torino (Jazz Club Torino), Ancona (Ancona Jazz Summer Festival), Lisbon (Estoril Casino), Porto (Casa da Musica), Bremen (Jazzahead Clubnight 2017), Munich (Vogler) and finally in New York where their shows were applauded at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Zerilli-Marimó foundation at New York University and in various jazz clubs such as Zinc Bar, Luca’s Jazz Corner and the legendary Birdland.

Italian born singer Minnozzi has an impressive recording career predominantly in Brasil where for over 20 years she has made a name for herself via 12 CD’s, 2 DVD’s, numerous major network TV appearances and noted duets. The noted veteran Italian Jazz critic Gerlando Gatto has compared Mafalda to the French born Italian diva Caterina Valente so popular worldwide in the 50’s and 60’s “…Mafalda is a truly cosmopolitan artist who sings in various idioms with full command of each and with extreme creativity… Caterina Valente comes to mind” (A Proposito de Jazz – May 2016)

Completing the duo is Paul Ricci, a NY guitarist who has worked mostly in Brazil for the past 20 years but comes from the NY scene as far back as the 80’s playing with Jaki Byard, Mike Clark, Harold Vick, Dennis Irwin, Larry Willis and countless other noted sidemen. For his performance alongside pianist Jaki Byard at NY’s Blue Note the critic John S. Wilson wrote in the New York Times: “…guitarist Paul Ricci established a fresh basis for “Lover Man” with a fascinating unaccompanied introductory solo…” (NY Times, November, 1986). His experience and inventive use of all these rhythms on jazz, acoustic and baritone guitars result in an impressive and powerful orchestral concept on guitar that together with Minnozzi’s experience in popular song result in something truly their own.