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DYAD Plays Jazz Arias CD cover

Dyad Plays Jazz Arias

DYAD is a unique duo born from two jazz and classical artists who transcend musical boundaries, transforming the emotion of classic operatic melodies into stylish contemporary jazz. Dyad features Lou Caimano’s bold, lush alto saxophone sound, enfolded in an orchestral way by Eric Olsen’s vibrant and inventive piano. The fluid rhythmic and danic interplay between the musician is a signature feature of the Dyad sound. With Dyad Plays Jazz Arias, Lou and Eric join forces to bring favorite operatic arias into the world of modern jazz with grace, style, brilliant originality, and breathtaking skill.

In this album, veteran jazz artists Randy Brecker and Ted Nash bring their exceptional artistry to the Dyad experience, adding a colorful and dynamic dimension to the music.

DYAD does it again.

“Dyad goes through the borders between Classical and Jazz with ease!” -Paquito D’Rivera, Grammy Award winning saxophonist
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DYAD Plays Puccini

Dyad Plays Puccini

Sometimes a simple comment made in passing becomes the seed that blossoms into a beautiful idea. Operatic soprano Pamela Olsen confided to her husband, pianist Eric Olsen, that Lou Caimano’s alto playing reminded her of an opera singer. This suggestion became the concept for Dyad Plays Puccini: re-imagining Puccini’s most beautiful classical compositions as contemporary jazz arrangements. With that, a new musical adventure for the Dyad partnership was born, fusing the two streams of classical and jazz music. In DYAD Plays Puccini, Olsen and Caimano bring ten timeless Puccini melodies into the 21st century with grace, style, virtuosity, and originality.

Pure DYAD at its best.

“Dyad goes through the borders between Classical and Jazz with ease!” -Paquito D’Rivera, Grammy Award winning saxophonist
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It’s not often the expression “less is more” is really musically meaningful. DYAD, the new CD by saxophonist Lou Caimano and pianist Eric Olsen definitely achieves meaning with less. The notes on the CD reveal something about their musical process. Something about it is both thoughtful, complex, and heartfelt. Together the searching sound reveals a sophisticated love affair between reed and keyboard that join extremes into a masterful potion. At times, the contradictions meld together, edgy and tender, childlike and sophisticated, intelligent and romantic. Lot’s of interesting couplings. The CD is quite varied and includes original neo-classical compositions, latin rhythms, and formidable jazz standards. Perfect for a rainy day.  – Saul Spangenberg

Reviews of Dyad Albums

DYAD PLAYS JAZZ ARIAS (featuring Randy Brecker and Ted Nash)

Killer players with well-honed chops, several of the first takes on display here will simply blow your mind, as will the rest of this pure listening date. 
Chris Spector – Midwest Record

Dyad Takes Opera to the Jazz Clubs. “ a terrifically creative album, one that simply cannot be fully appreciated or savored in just one listening. There is, literally, so much going on here that you need to listen two or three times at least. What a great album! Trumpeter Randy Brecker is at his very best here. Caimano sounds a bit like Johnny Hodges on steroids: the same sort of pure tone with far more “edge” and risk-taking.
Art Music Lounge by Lynn Bailey

A tour de force…
Lance Liddle Bebop Spoken Here

This stately and absolutely robust collection of seven classical arias vibrates with an impeccable sense of immediacy and grace…DYAD fearlessly and imaginatively bebop these formidable operatic themes… each taken with improvisatory flair and soaring musicianship… Caimano and Olsen are the daring bright lights here. Deservedly so.
Mike Jurkovic -Elmore Magazine

Beautiful music, reinvented with taste and respect by two immensely talented musicians.
Bruce Crowther- Jazz Mostly

Here… Caimano and Olsen… take the most dramatic arias from Mozart’s 1787 Don Giovanni, Barber’s 1956 Vanessa, Bizet’s 1875 Carmen, Verdi’s 1887 Otello and … turn them into gloriously swinging jazz, no mean feat. 
Mike Greenblatt – Aquarian Weekly


Grace. Style. Virtuosity. Originality.
Paul Leslie – The Paul Leslie Hour

An enthralling CD, eloquent and passionate improvisations on artful arrangements.
Scott Albin JazzTimes

Fugue-ish playfulness and a jazz sensibility. The result is a finely tuned recital.
John McDonough – Downbeat Magazine

Perhaps the most amazing transformation of cultural enlightenment in the last quarter century.
Brent Black – CriticalJazz

This is a jazz album through and through and it’s a treat.
Marc Myers – Jazzwax  

This is a remarkable album.
Jack Goodstein – Blogcritics

DYAD makes Puccini’s melodies sound perfectly natural as postbop…and their risk taking pays off.
Alex Henderson – Jazz Inside

Dyad goes through the borders between Classical and Jazz with ease!
Paquito D’Rivera – Grammy award winning Saxophonist

Brilliant originality, intriguing blend of classics, jazz and breathtaking skill of the duettists.
Tony Augarde –  Musicweb International (England)

Lou Caimano is an extraordinary saxophonistEric Olsen is an excellent pianist.
“Dyad Plays Puccini” is chamber jazz at its finest.
Ron Netsky – Rochester City Newspaper

You must give this a listen, as it’s one of those releases in which words fail.
Mark S. Tucker  – Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange

“Dyad Plays Puccini” is an extraordinary project by two American musicians.
Vittorio Lo ConteMusic Zoom (Italy)

Caimano and Olsen vary Puccini’s masterpieces with theatricality and reverence.
Dr. Roberta Zlokower – Roberta on the Arts

The virtuosity of execution of both parties deserves the highest praise.
Leonid Auskern Jazzquad (Russia)

May 30, 2013 – Joseph Lang – Jersey Jazz

Pianist ERIC OLSEN and alto saxophonist LOU CAIMANO… imaginatively apply their talents to ten Puccini selections.  Olsen and Caimano are comfortable playing both classical music and jazz, and they bring both sensitivities to this project resulting in a fusion that is impressive and satisfying.  The results are simply wonderful. Whether your primary interest is jazz or opera, or perhaps you have an affection for both, this album should make for a friendly listening experience.

June 22, 2013 – Chris Spector – Midwest Record

LOU CAIMANO-ERIC OLSEN/Dyad Plays Puccini: No, it’s not two guys trying to do a look at me thing. It’s two guys (piano/sax duo) with some good ideas …taking famous passages from Puccini works like “La Boheme”, “Madame Butterfly”, “Tosca” and more, and treating them all like contemporary jazz works. You could almost hear this as a splinter album from members of Yellowjackets or Spyro Gyra. Removed from PBS and the opera hall, you wouldn’t know this is opera. These guys do a wonderful job of bringing the source material into the present and the jazz club. It’s a wonderful piece of adult listening when the only pyrotechnics you need are the sparks this duo sets off. Well done.

July 13, 2013 – Marc Myers – JazzWax

Like certain restaurant menu descriptions, some album titles don’t do the music inside justice. Take Dyad Plays Puccini (Ringwood). Not exactly catnip for jazz fans.  But this album featuring Lou Caimano on alto sax and Eric Olsen on piano actually works in a most delightful way. Whether you care for Puccini or not, this is a jazz album through and through, with operatic themes serving as the Great Italian Songbook.  Both Caimano and Olsen are highly accomplished players and improvisers.  Despite its title, this album is a treat.

July 14, 2013 – Leonid Auskern – Jazzquad.ru

There is a common vector for jazz and classical music – the story of a very long thread, leading back to the idea of “third stream”, put forward by Gunther Schuller. A slightly shorter thread attempts to connect jazz with one of the key areas of classical music – opera. Of the most successful experiments in this direction undertaken in this century, we can recall Joe Lovano’s album Viva Caruso. Now two American musicians, saxophonist Lou Caimano and pianist Eric Olsen, bring to our attention a new project in this area: Dyad Plays Puccini….. The album has a lot of pleasant moments for fans of opera and jazz lovers alike. The arrangements are made ​​with the utmost respect for the original, with much grace and elegance, and in a jazz context. The virtuosity of execution of both parties deserves the highest praise.   (Each arrangement) creates a feeling that the alto saxophonist Lou Caimano is really singing and Eric Olsen’s piano at the same sounds with a true jazz swing. I hope everyone will appreciate the charm and originality of the work.

July 16, 2013 – Mark S. Tucker – Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange

Wait a minute…Puccini, one of the original opera gods, covered on just sax and piano??? Man, what a great idea! The moment I saw the title, I thought “Why hasn’t anyone done this before?”. The CD’s promo lit echoed my notion, naming Billy Strayhorn’s Lush Life and Monk’s Round Midnight as just two compositions having much in common with some of Puccini’s best and most popular work. Give whoever wrote that passage a cigar because it’s the perfect equation, algebra in C flat minor. However, it was no less a person than pianist Eric Olsen’s opera singer wife, Pamela Olsen, who noted that Lou Caimano’s sax work reminded her very strongly of fellow singers, and, voila!, Dyad was born. Continue reading

July 20, 2013 – Maxwell Chandler – Our Man on the Coast

Jazz and classical (symphonic, operatic et al) have always been blood relatives. Opera has more in common with jazz than would seem obviously apparent on the surface. There have been opera inspired jazz albums.  The best of these show the personality of both composer and musician in equal if not alternating measure. The latest foray into the field is by DYAD which is the duo of Lou Caimano on alto saxophone and Eric Olsen on piano doing works from Giacomo Puccini’s (1858-1924) operas. Both musicians show what they can do in their solo statements but the performances remain in the service of the melody of which Puccini can be said to be the king (of his era). The musicians are coming from a not strictly jazz background and this allows for their interplay to have a different type of unity than were they just from the jazz world. The looseness is replaced by emotion which resonates as Puccini had intended yet the template still managing to feel as of our time, valid. Continue reading