Category Archives: Reviews/Press

Reviews of Dyad Plays Puccini

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

July 21, 2013 – Jack Goodstein – Blogcritics

Back in the 1950s, jazz musicians, perhaps looking to expand their horizons, perhaps recognizing a new source for quality material to experiment with, turned to the music of Broadway. The result was some very effective music—effective artistically, effective commercially. Jazz artists have always been eager to try new ideas. Creative innovation is what jazz is all about.

So when the piano-sax duo Dyad comes up with an album of jazz interpretations of the music of Giacomo Puccini, and you hear what they’ve done with it, you have to wonder what took them so long. Admittedly, classical music in general and grand opera specifically have not been particularly fertile ground for jazz reinterpretation. There is a track here, a track there, but jazz artists have generally been more interested in developing their own compositions in classical forms. Dyad Plays Puccini is an album that could change all that. Continue reading

Marty Khan – Promotional Publicity – June 09, 2013

It is often said that no musical instrument more perfectly replicates the human voice than the saxophone.  On that note, when operatic soprano Pamela Olsen confided to her husband, pianist Eric Olsen that alto saxophonist Lou Caimano’s playing reminded her of an opera singer, a beautiful concept was born.  And a new adventure began for Dyad, Lou and Eric’s remarkable duo ……. Dyad Plays Puccini. Continue reading