Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Nicola Conte - Other Directions (Expanded) - 2010 - Schema

This superb Jazz set was issued, originally, in 2004 and provide my first ever contact with the SUPERB Schema Records. This was an instant love affair, and one that continues to this very day. A label of high esteem and quality we can be rest assured that nothing lacklustre will be unleashed on us from this strong, strong label out of Milan. Roll forward to 2010, and in their wisdom Schema have released this set again, but this time as a double CD with new, bonus cuts on disc 2 as well as alternate versions of songs such as "Wanin' Moon" and "Nefertiti". Some songs were - shock! horror! - only released previously on the dreaded vinyl so appear here properly for the very first time in crystal clear CD quality. We deserve no less, us connoisseurs! These songs, "Bohemian's Dilemma", "Waltz Of The Sirens" and an extended version of my all-time favourite, "Kind Of Sunshine" appear and thank heavens to Betsy for it too with it's extended and frenetic percussion and horns. If you're not familiar with this set, then I highly recommend a listen as I know that fans of Mario Biondi, Was A Bee and Alessandro Magnanini will also love this. My favourite song remains as "Kind Of Sunshine". Man, when I first heard this song I had a proper bonafide Adrenaline rush! Playing this loud the latin percussion, hectic percussion and Fabrio Bosso's Fred Wesley-ish trombone solo truly nailed it for me big time and having a slightly longer version is a real treat too.

On disc 2, "Charade" is a track that I am hitherto unfamiliar with, and with a great piano based line and floating flute, vocalist Lisa Bassange is able to create a deliciously jazzy atmosphere that is both romantic and rhythmic. Michael Buble, anyone? No, I thought not. Unreleased, "Danubian" with a seriously strong double bass, vibes and drums by Lorenzo Tucci this is a KILLER track. The backing vocals are not credited but hark back to those used by classic Brazilian artists such as edu Lobo back in the heady Bossa Nova 1960s. Call this Nova Bossa Nova if you will. Also unreleased is "Teardrop Painted Blue", a bouncy effort complete with vibraphone and Bembe Segue on vocals. This great '60s sound in a smart, snappy and 2010 fashion proves that what is magical and timeless will always remain so. Also unreleased is the superb vocal cut, "Quiet Stars" featuring, again, our heroine, Bembe Segue. This material could have been recorded many years ago but is very Today, Modern and on-the-ball. It's a brilliant, brilliant song and I hope that Schema stay true to their colours and maintain a level of musicianship, craft and quality that we have grown to know and love. Total respect to Nicola, Schema and all the multi-talented musicians, singers and staff involved. This lover of REAL music salutes you all.

Barry towler
The Vibe Scribe