Mario Biondi: Italy’s King of Jazz Rocks the Royal Albert Hall

UK fans knew they were going to be in for a treat, when Mario Biondi announced he was to play the Royal Albert Hall backed by British Heavyweights Incognito and Omar Lye-Fook MBE.

Mario Biondi at the Royal Albert Hall

The air of the auditorium was electric as the spectabundal audience waited for “Le Gatto Fresco” to appear and boy was it worth the wait! Launching into songs from his new album ‘Sun’ and giving fans an exclusive run-down of the tracks before its general release, Mario, was on top-form from start to finish.

If there were any cobwebs in the eaves of the Albert Hall, Mario blasted them away with his bass range – such was the power and conviction delivered in each song. It was clear to see that Mario loves what he does, putting so much love into writing his songs and arranging the music that when performing he can’t help but dance! Lost in the groove of tracks like “What Have You Done To Me” and “Lowdown” – Tom Jones better watch out for there’s another panty-charming stallion in town!

Mario Biondi with Omar at the Royal Albert HallIt was great to see Omar MBE grace the stage to duet with Mario on the beautiful track “Never Stop” and also James Taylor for “Deep Space” but perhaps the two people who were on fire and complimented Mario’s vocals completely were backing singers Tony Momrelle and Vanessa Haynes. Tony standing in for Leon Ware and Al Jerreau on tracks “Catch the Sunshine” and “Light to the World,” while the sensational Vanessa stood in for Chaka Khan on “Lowdown” her voice sending ripples of excitement through the crowd.

Jean-Paul Maunick aka Bluey from IncognitoBetween segments, Incognito’s Jean-Paul Maunick aka Bluey, took the crowd through the musical journey of the band from 1979 to present day, playing hits such as “Parisienne Girl”, “Still a Friend of Mine” and of course “Don’t You Worry Bout a Thing”. There’s not one member of the band Incognito that shines more than the other, each musician master of their instrument and together shining in unison.

Highlights for me though came from Bluey playing guitar and accompanying Mario on the song “Woman Woman”, Jim Mullen with his awesome guitar skills, Kevin Robinson’s trumpet solo on “There’s No One Like You,” and the drum battle by Francesco Mendolia and Joao Caetano, even backing singer Natalie Williams’ rendition of Minnie Riperton’s Joao Caetano from Incognito‘Inside my Love’ was nothing short of outstanding.

I don’t think there was anyone that could sit still throughout the 3hr concert and by the time Mario sung his final song “This Is What You Are” the fevered crowd were out of their seats and dancing in the aisles.

If you’re thinking of booking to see Mario Biondi, Incognito or Omar Lye-Fook in concert – don’t think, just book, you will not be disappointed.

Mario Biondi & Vanessa Haynes    Mario Biondi  Natalie Williams

Vanessa Haynes & Tony Momrelle  Incognito    Mario Biondi at the Royal Albert Hall



  1. Aarghh, how come I missed knowing about this! I have 6 of his albums and used to see JIm Mullen (with the late Dick Morrissey) nearly every fortnight for about a year in the late 70s early 80s at the Half Moon in Putney.


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