… Sort of like Braxton Circle meets Coleman Trio meets Zappa….meet Brubeck! … challenging and consistently fascinating… a variety of surprises with layers of complex. Centazzo’s music is in between modern jazz and contemporary classical music.The balance between writing and the quirky solos is just right.

BLG, Downtown Music Gallery, NY

The West Coast Chamber Jazz Trio, recently formed, remains faithful to its name, in the sense that the undoubted chamber size and the jazz component, apparent in rhythmic melodic lines and improvisation always kept under control, are beautifully conjugated in the narrative modes, colloquialisms and relaxed of the Californian jazz, not only from the fifties and sixties, but also that one of the most recent landings …

Libero Farnè, All About Jazz

The WCCJ Trio was formed by Andrea Centazzo, Ellen Burr and Jeff Schwartz few years ago and since then, it has been performing both in USA and in Europe. It’s one of the most prominent groups in the New Jazz/ Improvised Music of the LA scene, playing constantly with critics’ and audiences’ great success. All materials they perform are original compositions from the vast repertoire of Andrea Centazzo. Being all three masters of free improvisation, they add a new perspective to the classic jazz trio formula. As an unusual ensemble they plan to fill a void in the sound palette of contemporary jazz keeping in mind the old masters’ lesson but also the new boundaries of jazz. The WCCJT render the anticipation of “What comes next?” easy to accept. The concept of their projects LA CONFIDENTIAL, TAO and JACK ON THE ROAD is built on the careful traveling through an alluring, appealing and mysterious atmosphere to a place of surprise… back in time, but yet in the future…
The trio is also the hard core of the West Coast Art Ensemble a larger variable group formed in 2023 and now at its’ discographic debut with a new album of Centazzo’s compositions (see below).

The Musicians

Andrea Centazzo (see his bio on the main page)

Ellen Burr’s multifaceted musical career has won her praise in performance, improvisation and composition. Jim Santella of Cadence Magazine said, “…creative artists such as Burr, who turn the flute into a tool for exploration, give their audience a wide range of aural experiences.” Ellen has been improvising almost as long as she’s been playing and began teaching only two years after starting private lessons. Ellen appears on over 30 CD’s and has received worldwide performances of over fifty of her compositions. She has appeared at the 40th Anniversary concerts of Creative Music Foundation, Notations 21-Concert of Graphic Scores at the Chelsea Art Museum, Vancouver New Music’s presentation of Cornelius Cardew’s Treatise, KNOB New Music Festival in Wichita, several ISIM Festivals, Wichita State University’s Contemporary Music Festival, Vancouver Jazz Festival and Las Vegas New Music Festival, as performing in Vancouver and Portugal. Ms. Burr held a year long position as assistant professor of theory and music composition at Wichita State University.

Jeff Schwartz is co-leader of the Decisive Instant creative orchestra, principal bass of MESTO (the Multi-Ethnic Star Orchestra), a member of the Santa Monica Symphony, and is very active in the Los Angeles avant-garde music community, working regularly in groups led by Andrea Centazzo, as well as numerous temporary formations. He has also performed with visiting artists including Anthony Braxton, Glenn Branca, Dana Reason, Nicole Mitchell, Tracy McMullen, Sean Sonderegger, and Adam Rudolph, and attended the Creative Music Studio and the Vancouver Creative Music Institute, studying with Karl Berger, Henry Threadgill, and Barry Guy, among others. The author of a popular online biography of Albert Ayler, his writing has also appeared in the journals American Music, Popular Music, and Postmodern Culture, and in the forthcoming revision of A Basic Music Library. 


The West Coast Chamber Jazz Trio presents 3 different programs:

LA Stricly Confidential

An ocean breeze. A sense of open spaces. An atmosphere of sensitive relaxation. These were some of the qualities that attracted Italian-American percussionist/composer Andrea Centazzo To the West Coast American jazz of Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, Art Pepper and Dave Brubeck in the early 1960s, when he was young.

Not always a “jazz” performer himself, Centazzo has nonetheless always been an artist — his five more-decade career has spun around soundtracks, multimedia creations and concert music commissions, as well as exposing the adventurous music he enjoyed via his own Ictus label. So he had no desire to replicate West Coast jazz. Rather, he wanted to reflect on the way it made him feel. That’s where “L.A. Strictly Confidential” comes in.

To realize his concept, to reinterpret the compositions he has been stockpiling for many years, and to complement his sensually arresting, spontaneous-sounding (yet considered) work on vibraphone and an array of other percussion instruments, Centazzo needed his West Coast Chamber Jazz Trio to be just so. That’s why he chose the clean, airy flutes of Ellen Burr, who always sounds as if she turned a corner and discovered something fascinating. And that’s why he chose the double bass of Jeff Schwartz, a one-man mood maker who knows the difference between groove and repetition.

In the title “L.A. Strictly Confidential,” we can also sense a certain mystery, a whiff of Raymond Chandler novels and film noir. That’s appropriate, because the listener never knows where the music is going, and always sticks around to find out.

LA Strictly confidential CD is available on ICTUS records.

Greg Burk, La Weekly

The music of Steve Lacy

Andrea Centazzo, a legendary percussionist, composer, and one of the pioneers of European Free Improvisation, presents a special series of concerts and workshops dedicated to the music of his mentor Steve Lacy.

Lacy became known in the 1950s as Cecil Taylor’s saxophonist and as the first artist to record an album of Thelonious Monk compositions, besides Monk himself. Over the next four decades, he created a huge body of work, including dozens of albums and hundreds of compositions, influenced by Monk, Duke Ellington, modern poetry, and his unprecedented mastery of the soprano saxophone.

Lacy and Centazzo’s late 1970s collaboration produced the classic LPs Clangs and Trio Live (with Kent Carter), both newly reissued on vinyl, plus six albums of archival concert and studio recordings available on CD from Centazzo’s label ICTUS.
Two new never unreleased before albums with Centazzo, Carter and Lacy in trio/duo and solo are just now hitting the marked in vinyl LP format.

Jack on the road
Andrea Centazzo’s multimedia concert inspired by the Jack Kerouac novel

Written in three weeks on a gigantic teleprinter paper roll, On the Road came out in 1957, immediately becoming a cult book, capable in some way of defining and founding a new direction and life style.

If it’s true that the Beat Generation was mainly inspired by this book and by the Jack Kerouac biography, it’s also true that the novel with its neurotic discomfort, for the first time throw the glow to the post-war American Dream, and ends up embodying any opposition form and to symbolize any form of resistance to the power.

The journey to South West made by Sal and Dean (in the reality Kerouac himself and his friend Neal Cassidy) on the Texas and Messico endless roads, after all is a journey to the “nothing”.

In that travel what is important isn’t arrive, but to go, to move indefinitely, in the vain hope to exorcize the always rising anxiety and the evils of living, despite the alcohol, marijuana and benzedrine escaping ways.

The unavoidable need to rise in rebellion, the friendship values, the quest for originality shows the coordinates of a youth universe signed by the dissolution and death’s black shadow: an universe that requires now and then the rispect for the victims of a silent but deadly historical drama.

At the very end, the journey of those two anti-heroes is the metaphor for a total intolerance to a political power that doesn’t tolerate dissenters yesterday like today: from Jack Kerouac to Michael Moore there’s less distance than one might think in a country where Hoover, McCartney, Cheney, G.W. And Trump are the different sides of the same coin.

But the journey is also a inner journey where emotions, dreams, visions and quest intersects in a feverish roaming that this project wants bring to the audience.
The basic idea of this project is blend the singing and music on stage with great images of the original On the road locations and more.

Actual video image

The music isn’t a cliche’-like as may expected; Jazz and Beat Generation have been already abused and exploited…

Even if Kerouac have truly been a Jazz fan and, when in his golden years, did ask to Jazz players to record a reading with music on it (being after terribly delusional) the music here is searching an alternative route with multiple source of inspiration between modern composition and classic improvisation. The scores are conceived for a trio with ample use of electronics

As always, in Andrea Centazzo music, the creative experience comes from many arms of the great inspiration river: not music that you can assign to a precise genre, but ebollient material, like a creek water, taking with it floating slags of remembrances, contaminations and rough sounds

Jan Giger, Berlin, 2009

The Lyrics are freely inspired by the book and proudly show this freedom: Sal and Dean are roaming in a literary space, parallel to the Kerouac book characters: they cross other lands and walks on other roads. But on the same direction than On the road. An endless travel in the search of old roots, new meanings and illuminating why.
In a literary amalgam, fragments from Kerouac novels and poetry are the quotations, live action skeleton.
The books as philosophic reference disclosed in the music’s fabric…

The Video is shot following the novel inspiration and also contains footage from that era. Even the video has a literary inspiration: Kerouac quotes are the departure point from where the video starts. But that’s just the starting; after that the images floats in their own dimension in the Centazzo style.
The continuous interplay between singing, music and screen takes this project on a very unusual path, discovering new exciting and hidden aspects.