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Alberto PizzigoniWelcome to the ninth round of Kato’s Gem. Today we start with “Mildness”, released in 1988, is the latest jazz album by Alberto Pizzigoni, a master, one of the best Italian guitarists ever, who has worked with all the names that count of Italian music and more (Trovajoli, Gianni Ferrio, Gorni Kramer, Gerry Mulligan). A splendid album, born with his trio, with Daliso Cervesato on double bass and Sergio Palmieri on drums for an hour of magical music. Sometimes the guitar takes the form of a rhodes piano and the mood moves between jazz, blues, samba and bossa nova. The sound testament of an artist who behind the scenes has put his hand on fifty years of Italian music.
Joe TexSecond album of the day: Joe Tex’s “I Gotcha”, released in 1972. A classic, one of the most explosive funk bombs of the last century, brought back by Quentin Tarantino, who wanted to insert it in the soundtrack of “Le Iene”. A must have for all soul lovers, between classic numbers and contagious grooves that are much more than just a frame for that musical “Mammut” which is the title track.
Marvin Gaye-Tammi TerrellIn 1968 Motown Records, the second album of the magical couple Marvin Gaye-Tammi Terrell, “You’re all i need” was released. Produced by Johnny Bristol, the work confirms the special relationship that existed between the two artists, capable of completing and exploring each other in an original way. A few months before the recordings, Tammi Terrell passed out on stage in Gaye’s arms, due to a malignant brain tumor, which after a long battle will take her away in March ’70. Marvin Gaye never recovered emotionally from this loss, but from this work on he brought out a new emotion and a live charisma, which will become his trademark. Ah, if you’re wondering, from the title track about 25 years later Mehod Man and Mary J. Blige will bring out one of the most fascinating pieces of the golden age of rap.
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The Roots“Undun” by The Roots, released in 2011. The work is structured as a concept album, built on the life of a boy (Redford Stephens) who grew up in the US ghettos. According to many we are in the presence of the best band of the last twenty years, able to transcend genres like few others and to bring together in their sound Coltrane, electronics, the most classic soul and Led Zeppelin. With a shot that, let’s face it, openly, most rock bands can only dream of. Here in my opinion this is the latest masterpiece of a group, which in the end is authentically Hip Hop, thanks to one of the first 5 rappers in history like Black Thought – who shows off an exceptional writing test – and the genius of Questlove, drummer and producer with incredible talent. Coherent yet different songs for a great musical journey.
Donovan“Open Road” of Donovan. We are in 1970, glam rock begins to take hold and Donovan, who has been one of the main inspirers of this subgenre, adapts and amalgamates it with his style with excellent results. Just think of the initial “Changes”, easy and enthralling rock, beautiful guitar riff and the unmistakable vocality of Donovan, which is also found in songs such as “People Used To”, “Song For John”, “Riki Tiki Tavi” , vaguely hysterical and irresistible, a pressing and sardonic “Poke At The Pope” and the indolent languor of “Clara Clairvoyant”, marked by blues phrasing and a powerful and psychedelic refrain.
Bachi da PietraToday’s latest gem is Bachi Da Pietra’s “Necroid”, released in 2015 for La Tempesta / Tannen. The evolutionary process gives birth to unexpected titles such as “Tarli mai” and even fun and brilliant like “Slayer & amp; The Family Stone “. Succi is amazing in moving from one vocal register to another, moving smoothly between a falsetto and a scream, the guitars grind great, the drumming is nothing short of granite. The new look works, maybe the sound choices are more “already heard” than the malaise that oozed from the first records, decidedly more personal and particular, but it is a necessary transmutation, to avoid repeating itself, and to confirm itself as musically singular protagonists in the panorama independent Italian.
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Frank ZappaWelcome to our seventh appointment of Kato’s Gems. Today we start with Frank Zappa’s “Over Nite Sensation”, released in 1973. Between Free Jazz and Prog, with even xylophones capable of inserting themselves into the compositional plot, we could think of something brainy. Instead here is Zappa perfectly focused on the song form. From “Montana” to “Camarillo Brillo” from “Dirty Love” to “Fifty Fifty”, here is the whole band on the shields, with deadly rehearsals by George Duke and Jean Luke Ponty for a multifaceted and never banal sound.
Clyde McPhatter“Treasure of love” by Clyde McPhatter. This splendid Atlantic edition released in 1980, exclusively for the Japanese market, contains the most important singles recorded by the legendary American singer, first with the Drifters, and then as a soloist. His is an unfortunate and often forgotten story, although Clyde Mc Phatter is considered by experts to be one of the best voices who trod the Rhythm and Blues scenes between the late 1950s and the early 1960s. In fact, at 30 he entered a deep crisis that turned him away from music and made him an alcoholic, ending up crushed by a heart attack at just 39 years old.
The Style Council“Cafe Bleu” by The Style Council In 1984 Paul Weller made a change in his career, producing the debut album of his new project. He hired dizzying musicians for a mix of Jazz, Bossa, Funk and Northern Soul rhythms, even making a detour in rap with the splendid “A Gospel”. A classy album that together with Working Week and the legendary Sade, paved the way for the trend of using jazz in contemporary productions.
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Common – Can i borrow a dollarWelcome back to our 6th appointment. Let’s start immediately with “Can i borrow a dollar” by Common, released in 1992. The debut album of the conscious rapper par excellence, is actually quite disconnected from the awareness that will impregnate the Chicago rapper’s lyrics from “Resurrection” onwards. His goal here was only to put his name on the map, making great pieces and showing off those qualities that made him one of the longest-running M.Cs ever. Here music is the great protagonist, samples, & nbsp; classic keyboards and breaks fit perfectly with our style thanks to the great contribution of No.I.D. (here he still called himself Immenslope) Pump up “Take It EZ”, “Breaker 1/9” and “Just in the Nick of Rhyme” if you’ve never done it.
Edoardo Bennato – Edo RinnegatoIn 1990 Edoardo Bennato stayed 8 days in the studio with his 12-string Eko guitar, a harmonica, a few tambourines and a couple of friends. A few months later this “Edo Rinnegato” comes out, which is not a simple collection of his successes. These are his best songs revisited in an acoustic key in the studio, live, which is the dimension that best renders the idea of this multifaceted, contradictory and bewildered artist. Part “Venderò” and you understand the magic is there, intact and tangible. Even the cover designed by Bennato himself is equally magical. If they asked me for a record to start from to understand the strength of this artist, I would tell them to start from here.
Weather Report – Black MarketAbout artists and records that make you exclaim “but how the heck do they do?” “Black Market” is my favorite Weather Report disc and I must say that it is very difficult for me to choose between their discography. But here there is magic. 1976. The formation is that of Dream Team with Wayne Shorter, Alex Acuna, Jaco Pastorius, Joe Zawinul and Chester Thompson. Music, I don’t know if it’s jazz, fusion, rock, progressive or whatever you want, it’s like something you put on the record, close your eyes and fly. And then after what seemed like a hundred seconds to your brain and instead it’s twenty minutes you must already change sides.
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2Pac – Thug LifeWelcome to our now usual Monday appointment: Kato’s Gems # 5. In 1994 2Pac (R.I.P.) put together a group of trusted friends and collaborators (Big Syke, brother Mopreme, Macadoshis and Rated R) and gave birth to “Thug Life Volume 1”, the first and unfortunately only album of this formation. Here is the most conscious 2Pac, the revolutionary who wanted to change things, far from the one who will conquer the world together with Death Row Records. The topics covered are important, with a tone to denounce the difficult living conditions in the ghetto, the atmospheres at times gloomy, very soulful and quite distant from the most popular G Funk, with productions of Easy Mo Bee, Stretch, Johnny J, Big Syke and Warren G. At that point, Pac was already a leading figure in the world of rap and cinema. He had made three major records and starred in such prominent films as Poetic Justice. Big Syke confessed that when he was assassinated in 1996, he already had plans to take advantage of the huge popularity gained with Death Row and release Thug Life Volume 2 for his label, Makaveli Records. My favorite tracks are “Pour out a little liquor” and “How long will they mourn me” produced by Warren G and with an always exceptional Nate Dogg (R.I.P.)
Wes Montgomery – MovinThe second album of the day is Wes Montgomery’s “Movin ‘Along”, released in 1960. This is a fairly hidden gem in the Montgomery catalog, which is accompanied by James Clay on the flute, Victor Feldman on the piano, Sam Jones on the bass and Louis Hayes on the drums. Four standards and two originals for this gem that returns the magic of one of the greatest guitarists in the history of jazz intact.
Gentle Giant – Free HandSometimes discs need a little more listening to be fully understood. With Gentle Giant’s “Free Hand” this exactly was happened to me. The first time he shot on the plate it seemed confusing, almost pretentious. Obviously I didn’t understand anything. Kerry Minnear in 1975 is at the height of his genius and pushes on the accelerator of his perfect musical machine. Time changes, incredible melodies that intertwine progressive rock, jazz, folk and soul & nbsp; in an impeccable way, with medieval echoes and the xylophone to punctuate such beauty. It isn’t surprising that the Banco del Mutuo Soccorso and the Premiata Forneria Marconi considered them masters, and were deeply influenced by them.
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Emanuele De RaymondiThe first album of this fourth round of Kato’s Gems is “Ultimo domicilio” by Emanuele De Raymondi, released in 2013 for ZeroKilled Music, a label founded by another Italian artist who has found luck abroad, Costanza Francavilla. Treated pianos, synthetic strings and post-glitch hints that mark the pinnacle of creativity of the Italian composer. “Brooklyn” clears away melancholy, poised between birth and death, between electronics and classical instrumentation. The cover of the photographer Lorenzo Castore is the ideal starting point of the album, a journey through places of migration and war.
Ti-ParisIf you are a lover of Haitian music or more generally of Caribbean music, this is a record that cannot be missing from your collection. Imagine a hot summer, an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt, a box of mangoes and a small ramshackle turntable. Ti-Paris is considered the father of Haitian music and bands like The Troubadours have been deeply influenced by his music. The first print of this record is quite expensive and rare to find, this is a 2014 limited edition reissue.
Dizzy GillespieToday’s latest record is Dizzy Gillespie’s “Bahiana”, released in 1975. In the 1940s he was one of the first major American artists to be interested in Latin jazz, but this record is a real hidden treasure, probably his best work in that decade. The interest in the Brazilian Bossa Nova had largely disappeared, replaced by the movement of tropicalism on one side and the disco-fusion of Deodato on the other one. This album instead, thanks also to the contribution of Paulinho Da Costa to percussion and the guitarist Alexander Gafa, is focused on hypnotic and, at times, carnivalesque rhythms.
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Masta Ace IncorporatedThe record of the day is “Slaughtahouse”, the first album released under the name Masta Ace Incorporated, in 1993. Masta Ace, legendary M.C. Juice Crew, is one of the best writers in the history of rap, still active and in good shape today. Here he was at the peak of his form and together with Lord Digga, Ice U Rock and the talented Paula Perry, he formed an unrepeatable working group, which led him to give birth to one of the best records of that golden age of rap. Gloomy and underground as New York imposed, but at the same time original in every aspect, from flow to production. Every beat is a brick. Every song is perfect. Each rhyme is to be studied in slow motion, aggressiveness and lyricism merged to the nth degree.
Esther Phillips – All AboutReleased in 1978. This is for me the record that closes the golden season of Esther Phillips, one of the most incredible and original voices ever. Between 1971 and 1978, she was super productive and inspired, churning out even more than one record a year. Randomly catch a disc of this incredible and tormented soul singer and find yourself, without a shadow of a doubt, in your hands a masterpiece. This, together with “Alone Again” is my favorite album, with exceptional musicians (Harvey Mason is on drums). Heartbreaking melodies, funk riffs to lighten the soul and blues that pervades all his music. The queen track of the album is for me “There You Go Again” very stylish, with a long spoken intro.
Elvin JonesAn interesting record for you beatmeker is Elvin Jones’ “Brother John”, released in 1982. Not just a jazz musician, but one of the greatest drummers in the history of music in general, who has influenced many artists and has put his mark on some great masterpieces. In the sixties he was a member of the John Coltrane Quartet, and he is the drummer on “A Love Supreme”. In this album he assembles a formidable rhythmic section together with the bassist Reggie Workman, and is helped by the pianist Kenny Kirkland and by Pat LaBarbera on the sax. Just the latter is the other great protagonist of the album appearing in perfect shape, with a style influenced by Coltrane but not derivative. Obviously there are so many interesting drum solos for a record that once again reveals all the greatness of Elvin Jones.
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Iomos Marad – Deep RootedA hidden gem of the underground rap of the early 2000s introduces the second post of this column. If you know (and love) J-Live, Lone Catalysts and All Natural this album will simply drive you crazy. The conscious trend of rap in those years expressed some excellences (and many more cliché). On the road of Common, Black Star and Roots, many artists expressed a wider musicality than was the case in the mainstream, accompanying it with messages and texts that induced listeners to reflect. Iomos Marad in 2003 made a masterpiece. Part of the production was entrusted to Dug Infinite, a name that will appear unknown to most, but which in Chicago is actually considered a master and pioneer of the beatmaking. He produced Common, Masta Ace, Baby Bam of the Jungle Brothers, co-produced many tracks for No. ID, and is the mentor of a certain Kanye West. But the undisputed protagonist is Iomos Marad, liquid flow, musicality, soul, great refrains. One of those spells that only happen once in an artist’s career.
Ami ShavitA name that should not remain unknown to fans of electronics and experimental music is that of Ami Shavit. An established Israeli artist and professor of philosophy and art, Ami’s main focus was on technology-related art; in particular being able to insert an emotional space into something mechanical. A great collector of synthesizers, he has tried to combine his love for Tangerine Dream and Philip Glass with the interest in the biofeedback technique, a process in which technology is used to transmit information on the functions of the body to allow a change in physiological activity in order to manipulate it. Along with understanding the alpha brain wave, Ami embarked on an experiment with what he called “Alpha Mood”, a state in which the brain works in relaxation and in which it used music as a means of inducing a meditative state.
Lavern BakerOne of the singers who favored the transition from jazz to rhythm and blues was Lavern Baker, who in 1956 made a beautiful debut album. An artist with a tormented history, he had a long history of lawsuits and unpaid royalties. She lived 22 years in a naval base in the Philippines where she was treated for pneumonia after a trip to Vietnam, organizing shows and performing herself. In 1992 both legs were amputated because of diabetes, but she continued to perform until the end of her days with her powerful and nuanced voice.
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