Espresso Manifesto - The Songs of Paolo Conte - Daniela Nardi's
Acronym Records/EMI Canada
Digital deliveries of music and accessible recording technology have contributed to the explosion of recorded music we see today. But, ironically they’ve brought consumers back to the buying habits of the 50s and 60s when the single was king. As the album bides its time, waiting for reinvention or at least reclamation, so too it seems the thought process behind the album has been devalued. Modern music ethics hold spontaneity, organic, freestyle development above any forethought or premeditation; characteristics that certainly set Daniela Nardi’s Espresso Manifesto – The Songs of Paolo Conte apart. Comparing her Italy to a cup of espresso; both dark, rich, earthy and complex, the singer goes on to explain in the liner notes that this is “my Espresso Manifesto: to create and showcase works that proudly display the wonders, genius and beauty of these earthy, complex, elegant, primal Italian people.” She chose the works of Paolo Conte as muse. Conte, a vibraphonist and pianist stands in modern Italy as one of its most beloved writers of dreamy, lilting compositions (like an Italian Antonio Carlos Jobim, or Jacques Brel). Most challenging for the Toronto-born Nardi was reinterpreting the strong male narratives of Conte’s songs. Along with her husband, Ron Davis, himself a celebrated jazz composer and pianist, the two set off for the Italy of Daniela’s heritage to record at Elettra Studios in the Umbria wine country; there drawing on the talents of some of the country’s finest jazz cats. Espresso Manifesto meets Nardi’s expressed and succinct intentions for the album and, inadvertently may point to future avenues for her to explore.. One of my favorite tracks, Come Di is given fun-loving vintage treatment with a gypsy jazz groove accented with muted horns, clarinet, playful electric guitar slides and Daniela’s campy delivery thinned to megaphone perfection. This kind of ‘antique beat’ could be enhanced with tasteful electronics to open the Italian traditions to an even broader, more youthful audience. Sorry, is that maybe a little too premeditated?