Italian in Ibiza, Riccio, aka Jazz N Palms, is about to follow his fabulous long-player, Ses Rodes, with a super 7” single. The track, titled Milano, is a re-imagining of cherished Balearic rarity, Piera Martell’s, Exotica, a song that Riccio fell in love with after hearing it on a Phil Mison mix. In anticipation, Here, our favourite floor-to-the-floor expert, The Insider, gets Riccio to shine a little light on the project, and Jazz N Palms` journey so far.
Interview conducted by The Insider.
Hey Riccio! Thank you for taking the time to talk. Where are you today and what are you up to?
Hey! I’m in Ibiza and right now. I’m going to the playground to shoot hoops.
Where are you from originally?
I’m from Bologna, but living in Ibiza now.
Can you paint us a picture of where you grew up and what it was like growing up there?
Bologna is the town, kind of centred around the university, which was founded in 1088. There’s some famous motor industry here – Ducati and Lamborghini – food, our specialities are tortellini, tagliatelle, and mortadella. I played a lot of basketball. Not a bad place for growing up.
Was / is there a music scene in Bologna?
Yes, it is nationally recognized.
How far back does your love of jazz go?
As far as the first hip hop samples.
Did your family play jazz at home when you were a kid?
No. There were books, not records in our house at that time.
When did you first start to explore your own musical taste and how did this manifest?
When I was 18. At school and social clubs. Then I bought an Akai 3000 XL.
What kinda of stuff were you into in your teens?
I used to buy hip hop, and then I decided to co-open a record shop, so that I could deepen my knowledge of the genre.
Who were the artists that inspired you?
Warren G, Eric Sermon, Dr Dre – all the best producers of the golden age of hip hop. A long list of songs and samples.
Can you recall your first trip to Ibiza?
Actually, I`d never been to Ibiza before I moved here.
When did you make your move over to Ibiza, and where did you set up home?
I moved in 2015, and am in the north of the island.
What is it you love most about the island?
Playing at the playground, close to the sea.
In the summer of 2022, you released your album, Ses Rodes. What can you tell us about this collection of tracks?
It’s a double LP, presented as a cartesian grid of Space-Time – one record is about space and the environment, with tracks Mar, Playa, Bosque, and Cielo – meaning Sea, Beach, Forest and Sky – and the other follows the times of the day, on tracks Mañana, Mediodía, Tarde, Noche – meaning Morning, Midday, Evening, and Night.
What other musicians did you work with on the album?
Some of the youngest and most talented musicians of the island: Pere Navarro – trumpet, rhodes, keys – Omar Alcaide – bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, keys – Franco Botto – saxophone- and Christian Delgado on drums and percussions.
You worked with the brilliant Ben Westbeech too on the album. What was his input?
Ben was a blessing. His help with mixing the record was essential, and helped me to be more confident about mixing too.
You have a regular gig at The Standard Hotel. What kind of vibe do you tend to play in your sets there?
The hotel hosts a weekly concert and DJ set every Thursday during the summer season. In winter the programming will be monthly. The sound is compact, consistent, positive and charming from start to finish. Fusion, Funk, Soul-Jazz, Latin jazz. Mainly instrumental is my vibe.
How long have you been playing at Pikes Hotel?
Now it’s already 5 years! Playing there in the morning, pool side, in that context, it was this that gave birth to Jazz N Palms.
Did you play there when Tony was alive?
Yes I did.
When the island fills with clubbers where are you to be found, in the middle of the dancefloor, or up in the hills?
They are up in the hills too!
Why do you call yourself Jazz N Palms?
I like to hide myself behind different projects. I was looking for this kind of sound, I feel comfortable with this sound, and want anyone who hears Jazz N Palms to know right away what kind of music to expect.
How did your relationship with Hell Yeah begin?
Marco has been a friend of mine for many years.
Tell us a little about this brilliant label.
Hell Yeah Recordings has, but especially Marco, a lot of experience, good reputation and put out some great releases over the years. Marco helped me a lot when starting the Jazz N Palms project, so I thought that the song, Milano, was a perfect way to extend our partnership, and to enrich his extensive catalogue with something he was missing: a soul-jazz Italian song.
Piera Martell’s 1978 single, Exotica, is well-known in vinyl digging / collecting circles, but you have really taken quite a radical approach on your rework. Tell us what drew you to the track originally and also what you`ve done to the original music.
Phil Mison had included Exotica in a mix that he did for Know-Wave Radio – that’s where I first heard it – and when I met Phil in Ibiza, he very kindly IDed it for me. I was in love with this track during my first years living on Ibiza. I recorded a more straight forward cover, but then started to work on the Disco version. The Italian band 291Out helped me with recording the original and the disco version, since I`d produced a couple of their records in the past. Then I cooked everything in different ways – with many missteps! A Disco Dj Mix version, that I finished few weeks ago, will also be released. It would have been a shame not to exploit all the beautiful material available. There are at least two more unfinished versions of this song!
You`ve reframed the lyrics too. Tell us how you have translated the vocals?
The original version – written by Salvo Ingrassia – is actually sung in an invented language, you can’t translate it, but the sound inspired me to find Italian words and a story to tell.
Tell us about the vocalist on the new version.
The vocalist is Giovanna Lubjan. I heard her voice on the beautiful song, Che Male C’é, by 291out.
What`s the story within the new lyrics?
It’s the story of a teenager from the suburbs who goes to school in the city centre. She receives an invitation from a classmate for Saturday night out, and doesn’t know whether or not to go to the big city, Milan. She is in doubt. The ending is unclear, but ends with hope. There`s an animated video made by the talented Parisian Studio Nokko that helps to get into the mood of the song for people that don’t understand the Italian lyrics.
The whole E.P. is a timeless package of blissed-out brilliance. Where do you think is the perfect place to listen to this music, and what do you think we should be drinking?
You can drink whatever you like! – but the perfect place to listen is with palm trees in the background, in Piazza Duomo in Milan.
What else is Jazz N Palms working on right now?
I’m remixing all tracks on the Ses Rodes album, and a new 7”, which will be out in the next few months on Terrasolare.
Thank you for your valuable time Riccio.
Jazz N Palms` Milano is released tomorrow, on Hell Yeah! Recordings.