Mario Biondi —
Sun ... CD Sony, 2013. Used ...
The sun shines brightly on Mario Biondi – really making this record sparkle with a charm that goes way beyond Mario's previous albums – a quality that's less retro than before, and which shows Biondi as a growing soul star with really universal appeal! There's still some of the old school jazz in the mix that we love from Mario's Schema work – but the album's also got a fuller production style at times, one that really expands the palette of Biondi's colors, and which has him working here with help from key guests who include Omar, Leon Ware, Al Jarreau, Incognito, and Chaka Khan – and even a bit of organ from the James Taylor Quartet! Jean-Paul "Bluey" Maunick helped co-write a good number of tracks on the set – and titles include "Shine On", "Come To Me", "Woman Woman", "What Have You Done To Me", "Never Stop", "La Voglia La Pazzia L'Idea", "Girl Blue", "Light To The World", and "Catch The Sunrise". CD
Dining Rooms —
Tre ... CD Schema (Italy), 2003. Used ...
The 3rd album by The Dining Rooms (in case you couldn't guess by the title!) – and the best so far! These guys have really matured from earlier outings – moving into a sophisticated realm of downtempo soundscapes crafted with a great deal of care, and which are put together with a lot more than simple tricks and gimmicks. There's loads of really solid tunes in here – sly numbers that sneak up on you with a subtle approach to the craft, gently burrowing in and taking root – somehow making the album that much more compelling overall. A number of tracks have some wonderfully languid vocals, some male and some female – and these tunes fall nicely next to instrumental numbers with a very evocative approach. Titles include "Anima Per Amarti", "Tunnel", "La Citta Nuda", "Fluxus", "Flamenco Sketches", "Dreamy Smiles", "You", "African Loungesters", and a nice cover of Sun Ra's "Astro Black"! CD