“Layla” is the latest chapter in Patricia Lazzara and Steve Markoff’s creative journey that began, improbably enough, when Markoff approached Lazzara seeking out flute lessons. The personal and musical rapport shared by the duo, after some time, blossomed into a full-on creative partnership that has resulted in several releases and counting. “Layla” is the first single from the duo’s forthcoming third album and successor to their 2019 debut Timeless and their 2021 release of original material entitled Romances in Blue. Their playing is as musically alive as ever and their partnership with piano player Allison Brewster Franzetti proves particularly useful when covering this track.
Newcomers, longtime fans, and longtime admirers of the song will each be impressed with the perfect stride Franzetti’s piano playing achieves. She balances the line between maintaining the song’s foundation riff and mixing moments of variety into her playing to prevent things from sounding too monotonous. The performance’s primary focus is, however, the interplay between Lazzara and Markoff.
It’s an instrumental showcase for the pair without ever being ostentatious. Lazzara and Markoff wisely never see fit to adorn their interpretation with needless affectations but, instead, bring flair to their playing through subtle touches such as elongating melodies a little, note selection, transitions, and so on. Transposing a guitar classic such as “Layla” over to a very different instrument requires changes, for sure, but the flutists do an excellent job of recasting the song in an unfamiliar guise and making it more than credible.
It isn’t a surprise considering their credentials. Lazzara’s a three-time winner of the Artists International Competition, a winner of the Florida Flute Association Performers’ Grant for Advanced Study, and the National Flute Association Convention Performers’ Competition. Markoff has earned critical notice for his playing on the duo’s previous recordings, especially his emotional edge and wide-open creativity. Franzetti is the trio’s secret weapon who brings her experience playing on several Grammy-winning tracks. She’s an award-nominated artist in both the Best Instrumental Soloist without Orchestra and Best Classical Album categories.
They are smart to never overextend the track or their individual performances. The unwavering sense of brevity Markoff, Lazzara, and Franzetti bring to the song, never adding a single extraneous note along the way, will keep listeners focused as well. Instrumental tracks are seldom popular on a massive scale, so you know the trio is likely entertaining few if any, illusions about commercial success. The fact they have experienced success at the level they’ve enjoyed testifies to the talent driving their work.
Let’s hope they continue collaborating indefinitely. Each new single from this threesome reminds us of music’s power to dismiss our troubles for a time and elevate our spirits when we need a lift. Steve Markoff, Patricia Lazzara, and Allison Brewster Franzetti have scored again with their version of “Layla” and it’s hard to imagine many not being impressed with what they’ve done with this venerable classic. If you’ve only heard of the song, it’s a great introduction, and for others, it’s well worth seeking out and hearing today.
The music of Steve Markoff and Patricia Lazzara has been heard all over the world in partnership with the radio plugging services offered by Musik and Film Radio Promotions Division. Learn more https://musikandfilm.com