ALBUM OF THE WEEK:
‘A Handful of Soul‘ by Mario Biondi & the High Five Quintet may not be his latest CD offering but still holds its weight as one of the best Latin Jazz albums of 2006. If you were to listen to the platinum-selling album now in 2013 with fresh ears you would think the album – so current and vibrant -was released only yesterday.
Galloping off with the title track ‘A Child Runs Free‘ Mario and the Quintet (made up of Fabrizio Bosso on the Trumpet, Lorenzo Tucci on Drums, Luca Mannutza – Piano, Pietro Ciancaglini – Double Bass and Daniele Scannapieco on the Saxophone) will have your toes tapping, head bopping, fingers clicking and spirits soaring, such is the intensity of the rhythms. I challenge anyone to listen to this and ‘No Mercy For Me‘ without attempting to ‘air-drum’ along and without dancing to ‘This Is What You Are‘!
The son of Italian singer Stefano Biondi, Mario found his passion for singing began with the church choir. His first major gig came when at the age of 17 he was the support act for the legendary Ray Charles, on the Italian leg of his tour. Since then he has performed with a great many stars, including Burt Bacharach, Renato Zero, Chaka Khan, Michael Bolton and more recently Incognito.
Mario Biondi is the word “Cool” personified. With his deep-husky Barry White-esque voice and smooth style, it’s hard not become enthralled by him and his album.
With an upbeat remake of Randy Crawford’s ‘Rio De Janiero Blues‘ and the fantastic lyrics in ‘A Handful of Soul‘ this album will make you want to seek out more of his great works. A massive “HIGH FIVE” to Mario and the Quintet.
Visit www.mariobiondi.com for more info on his discography and tour dates