[Instrumental version of the album / Digital release only]
“Handful of Soul”, Mario Biondi’s three-time platinum debut album – originally released in 2006, when you had to sell 80.000 copies of an album to get a platinum certification – and his most sold record to date, is now reissued by Schema Records in a new special edition, consisting of a 180gr. 2-LP set enclosed in a gatefold cover, plus the same album on CD including the bonus track “I’m Her Daddy”.
Everything about this incredible album, that hit like a bolt from the blue at the time, has already been said. Mario’s deep and warm voice recalls the great soul and rhythm’n’blues music interpreters. Many will think of a black singer, while Mario comes from the town of Catania, Sicily. “Handful of Soul” ranges between jazz and soul, resulting in a very enticing music release, whose sound swings from smooth vocal melodies to rhythmic tracks to dance to. The singer and the producers successfully managed to find out songs that wouldn’t change the nature of Mario’s voice, that could highlight the deepness of his tone, yet in the same time would still be able to represent the artistic direction and the music lead followed by Schema Records.
The love for r’n’b and soul, the styles of music mostly appreciated by Mario, brought him to listen to a certain music repertoire, in particular some of the most representative related artists (Earth, Wind & Fire, Donny Hathaway. Billy Paul, Luther Vandross, Lou Rawls, Aretha Franklin, Eryka Badu, Will Dowing…).
The songs on this record have been played by trumpeter Fabrizio Bosso and his High Five Quintet, a strong all-star ensemble with an excellent interplay that involves some of the best musicians in today’s Italian jazz scene: Daniele Scannapieco on tenor sax, Luca Mannutza, Pietro Ciancaglini and Lorenzo Tucci, respectively on piano, double bass and drums, forming a solid rhythm section. Mannutza and Ciancaglini were also in charge of the arrangements. High Five are able to play Jazz in an instinctive way; they perfectly adjusted to this production in a natural way, making this album a very pleasant listening.