Kari-On Productions is proud to introduce
Pat Battstone and Antonella Chionna
Artist: Pat Battstone and Antonella Chionna
CD Title: The Voice of Robert Desnos
Label: Bat’s Tones Music
Street Date: September 1, 2017
Scroll down for Bio, CD Description, Tracks, Times and Composers and Players.
Antonella Chionna began developing a deep appreciation for classical music at the age of twelve when she began training as a classical dancer and performing in theatres. She started training as a professional musician during the same year, influenced by opera, classical music, and jazz.
At the age of seventeen she started singing professionally, performing, recording, and collaborating with many artists from all over the world. In the years that followed she attended the Conservatory “Nino Rota” in Monopoli (BA) earning both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Jazz Voice and Music, having studied with some of Europe’s most sought-after educators: Gianna Montecalvo, Judy Niemack, and Gianni Lenoci .
In 2013, she released her debut album Adiafora (Dodicilune - IRD, 2013) and 2 years later released Halfway to Dawn – a Song of Billy Strayhorn (Dodicilune - IRD, 2015), as an exclusive monograph dedicated to the music of Billy Strayhorn This received enthusiastic feedback from one of the leading musicologists of Strayhorn’s music: Walter van de Leur. It also gave her national attention, paving the way for concerts and reviews throughout Italy in highly esteemed journals and concert halls.
Many of her other vocal works are documented in the following musical anthologies: Hunger and Love – tribute to Billie Holiday (Dodicilune – IRD)and Music Live – I Giovani per I Giovani (ISMEZ ONLUS, 2016).
As a writer and poet, she followed a classical education as the basis of her studies, combining highly specialized readings of the literary tradition in search of new forms of expressions. A fervent reader, she carried out the study of contemporary literature as a self – taught author, meeting the prominent members of the Italian poetic literature: She has published two books of poetry, Epifanie Baritonali (Lupo, 2012) and Poghenos (Lietocolle, 2014). Many of her poetical works are also documented and mentioned in prominent literary anthologies.
Chionna started teaching modern singing at the age of eighteen. As a vocal trainer, she developed a personal vision of the vocal instrument: strictly connected to her discography, to her work on stage, and to her academic and intellectual background – showing how an excellent technique and knowledge of improvisation, combined with deep, sympathetic listening are the key to becoming a valuable artist.
Patrick Battstone began performing music professionally at the age of 14, playing in various rock, blues, and R&B bands in South Western Ohio. By the time he was 18, he had received lessons from Stan Kenton and Gary Burton, had been mentored by Oscar Treadwell (Oska T), and had played with James Brown’s recording sidemen as well as members of the musical “Hair.”
In 1973, he attended Berklee College of Music and soon after became a student of both Mme Chaloff and Charlie Banacos. One of his bands, which featured hometown friend Grover Mooney, opened the fabled 1369 Club in Cambridge in 1975. During the 80’s, Patrick studied the works of Scriabin under the renowned Serge Conus. In 1986, he returned to jazz, studying with Joanne Brackeen for a period of 6 years.
In the past 2 decades, he has been involved in various musical activities. Though his focus as an artist is creative improvisation, he certainly is skilled and experienced in any setting where jazz (no matter the style) or groove and R &B is needed. He is fluid in both solo appearances as well as leading ensembles; in both acoustic settings as well as electric. He leads an acoustic trio and quartet and has performed in numerous electric funk/rock groups.
Besides performing, he has been active in producing music, in teaching piano, and has managed and mentored numerous bands and venues. Lately, his main activity has been in the recording studio, having produced and released 10 CDs of his own and collaborated works. His last 4 CDs, Mystic Nights, The Last Taxi, Beyond the Horizon, and From Dream to Dream have all had excellent reviews and have charted into the mid-teens on the CMJ jazz charts.
His latest adventures has been in collaboration with the musical circles in Puglia Italy, namely those of Gianna Montecalvo in Bari and Gianni Lenoci in Monopoli. Along with his Italian counterpart, Antonella Chionna, they have produced 2 CDs since June 2016 . The first, Rylesonable, is a quartet effort that features poetry, improvisation, quasi-standards and electronica. This is being released on the Italian label, Dodiciluna, in Feb, 2017. The second is a duet that features the poetry of Surrealist Robert Desnos. He is also a member of the TSK TSK orchestra which was recently audio and video recorded. That effort is being post processed into a DVD.
When not performing music, Patrick works as a rocket scientist at Draper Labs in Cambridge.
From the moment I read Robert Desnos, I realized he was writing with the same process as musical improvisations. As I read his life and that of those around him during his creative period , the more I was convinced of this.
The creative processes of self-abandon, trance, automatic actions, spontaneity, etc. are means by which the artist transcends the “reality” of the six walls that surround us and peers into a new but deeper vision of a sur-reality; one where the “movie screen” that we are all viewing suddenly melts and we are left staring at that which was behind our illusory conception.
Desnos was a master of going into his subconscious, through hypnotic trances and séances, to where he could both see and describe, that which was beyond our normal perception. In words, he described what artists like Kandinsky and Klee ( as well as the surrealist painters of his time ) described in paintings and what composers like Scriabin described in sounds.
It was only natural that improvised music and Desnos’ poetry be fused. During the mid-80s, our musical circle captured the spirit of this idea, yet none of the fruits were ever realized into a recording. However, this idea haunted me for the next 30 years.
Finally, commencing this work became an obsession. Who could do it? I found poets, yet none of them wanted to recite other’s works. I observed people in bars and approached some. Theatre groups and operatic groups were also queried. Lastly, I started reciting a selection during recording sessions and performances.
In March 2016, during a collaboratory period with Italian vocalist Antonella Chionna, I sent the recordings to her. On the same day, I receive a book of her poetry ( I was unaware that she was a writer/ poetess ) and suddenly the pieces fit. A few months later, she arrived in America and we began to fuse Desnos with an improvisation ensemble. Two pieces were done publicly, and one was recorded for the CD Rylesonable.
In September 2016, I spent time in Italy, and brought Antonella into a studio without any agenda. On the second track, we decided to try The Voice of Robert Desnos. We both looked at each other and knew what was next – A collection of Desnos’ poetry. The second session was booked and all the texts were in hand. One take for each poem was all that we needed. The results are this CD.
We would like to thank Marilyn Crispell, Gianni Lenoci, and Mimmo Galizia for their support and advice that helped realize this work.
1) If You Only Knew 9:12
2) Halfway 5:26
3) I Have Dreamt of You so Much 3:23
4) Wifeless, Plump Buck Moonigan 2:53
5) The Voice of Robert Desnos 8:44
6) Les Yeux d’Yvonne George 5:33
7) Chionnese Frantico 2:57
8) Suicide by Night 3:31
9) Spaces Inside Sleep 8:52
10) How Beautiful She 3:07
11) Nightfall 3:36
12) Nature Boy 9:01
Instrument - Player - Pronunciation:
Pat Battstone - piano, vision
Antonella Chionna - voice