Saturday, 19 December 2009

Alessanndro Magnanini - Someway Still I Do - 2009 - Schema

Now, when I first saw that this CD was on the hallowed Schema label I knew this would be good. I knew, in fact, that it would be VERY good. What I wasn't in for was how amazingly good it actually was! It is a strong, strong album in the Schema tradition of quality jazz and I can honestly report to you that every track is a winner. It is BIG in every way. Of a grand scale, Alessanndro Magnanini sets out his stall with no boundaries and no limitations. The instrumentation is BIG!, expansive, rich and delivered with a real flourish of that good old Italian flair. Let's face it, these Italians have always been cool, and this CD is of no exception. If you love the material of other Schema releases such as the High Five Quintet, Gerardo Frisina, Toco, Nicola Conte etc then you are simply going to want to order this CD blind. A few tracks at the start are a wee bit different and will appeal to those who like dramatic numbers in the vein of Shirley Bassey - this is extremely chic and cool and totally not what we would have expected the future of jazz to have been, say, 20 or so years ago!

"Open My Eyes" is a massive, massive production which could have been recorded at Studio A, Capitol Studios in the early '60s. Full and rich orchestration and powerful, confident vocals by Jenny B. This is simply jaw-dropping, no beating about the bush on this song. The bossa of "So Long, Goodbye" complete with trumpet solo by Fabrizio Bosso is totally spine tingling. Again, Jenny B shines vocally and proves yet again that the REAL jazz is NOT being recorded in the US at the moment. There, they are only trying to either put you asleep with smooth jazz, or make you feel violent and agitated with aggressive, banal and childish RnB. Let them get on with it. Here in Europe we know what the real deal is and Schema are dishing up REAL music by the cartload! I totally feel the mood of "But Not For You" and the sentiment does not escape me either. The brillaint bossa nova complete with swirling strings and vocals by the smooth Liam McKahey are beyond exceptional. Such top-draw material I really cannot believe that we are lucky enough to have such amazing material in 2009.

The title track is dancingly delightful, almost waltzing us along with a slight ghost of a hip 60s soundtrack to boot, Liam McKahey again works his vocal magic on here. Dare I say it, there is a very slight echo of Scott Walker to his approach. Listen close and clear and you'll hear exactly what I mean. Track 8 is AWESOME!!!!!!! This is Schema at it's jazzy best...the double bass and rattling, rolling drums pirouette with the percussion and slip us easily into Koop territory with vocals from the lovely Renata Tosi. "Stay Into My Life" cannot be beaten on any front. Fans of the gorgeous Roalia De Sousa shall delight in her effortless sexy vocals (in Portuguese) on "L'estate E'Qua". Add "Something Fine" to the mix with it's cool bossa flavour and vocals courtesy of Stefania Rava then this CD is more than complete. Alessanndro Magnanini dedicates this CD to his father...I think your Dad would be very proud of this CD, and I for one totally understand why. Exceptional in every possible way. Once again I bow down before real purveyors of quality music.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe