Luca Giordano Band – Off the Grid | Album Review


13 tracks

Italian blues ace Luca Giordano and his band offer up a great new album with nine super original cuts and two thoughtful and well-done covers.  Blending blues, jazz and funk in a very soulful manner, Giordano shows us he is one of the premier bluesmen from the European continent and that he can hang with the best of them in the blues world.  This album was Crossroads Blues Society’s submission for Best Self Produced CD for the 2015 IBC.

The album starts off with a little swinging original instrumental tune called “Jumpin’ Eye.”  Giordano picks out a beautiful melody on his guitar and Fabrizio Ginoble musically tussles with him as he nimbly offers up some sweet lead and accompaniment on the Hammond organ.  “Never Enough” follows and introduces us to the horn section of Sax Gordon on tenor sax, Mark Earley on baritone sax and Doug Woolverton on trumpet.  They and Luca provide listeners with a nice little intro before Luca takes the lead on vocals.  Walter Cerasani on bass and Alessandro Svampa on the drums lay out a great groove here and throughout the album.  Ginoble appears on organ again, too; it’s a well-crafted and bluesy swinging song!  The title track is next; Luca gives us a soulful delivery and Ginoble is again very impressive on the organ and keys.  Blending blues and jazz themes, the song has a great solo by Giordano on his guitar.  “When I’ll Be Gone” is another tasty instrumental featuring the duo of Giordano and Ginoble again.  These two guys are really in synch and can really deliver the goods when they play together!

A beautiful cover of “Since I Met You Baby” is soulfully rendered by Giordano on guitar.  Ginoble’s piano and the horn section add a sinfully sweet set of musical layers to this cut, but Giordano is the star here with a great guitar lead.  “Curly Hair Woman” is a jumpy original where Giordano grits out the lead on vocals and spars with the keys and horns in this rocking blues song. The instrumental “Cold Valley” follows.  Organ and horns give us a really grooving intro as the bass also picks out a big groove and the drums punctuate and drive the cut along smartly.  Luca comes in for a dramatic solo about halfway through; another impressive cut!  “One Way Road” is a funked-up song with Luca looking for a way out of life’s one way road.  More great work on the organ and another well crafted guitar solo demonstrate Giordano’s songwriting and the talents of this fine band.  The dreamy “Pami” blends jazz and blues as Giordano’s guitar and Ginoble’s organ wistfully interplay on this song that seems specifically made for slow dancing with your woman.

The final two cuts are labelled “Organ Trio Session” and feature Giordano, Ginoble and Fabio Colella on drums. “Flyin’ Back To My Baby” features Giordano crooning (with a little call and response from the other two guys) in this swinging tune.  The three really hit things off well and Colella makes the snare an intimate part of the proceedings along with Ginoble’s organ work.  Giordano does not leave us dry; he gives us another savory solo on his six-string.  Singing to his woman about coming back home, we get the feeling this is Giordano and the band talking and playing to us in a heartfelt manner about going home after a long tour in the US or Europe.  It builds to a nice, big and beautiful instrumental finish.  They close with a slow Carlos Johnson blues tune.  A very cool, long instrumental intro starts things off thoughtfully, and then Luca guts out an impassioned vocal lead as he also picks out some dirty blues on his ax.  Ginoble offers another outstanding solo as he, too, bares his soul for us.  The minimalist sound of the trio is just spectacular.

This is a really great album showcasing Giordano and the fine musicians he has surrounded himself with.  Singing in his lilting Italian accent, we get some great vocals and playing by Luca and his band.  This is Luca’s best album to date.  His songwriting shows maturity and complexity.  His musicianship is faultless and the band is up to his challenge as they, too, deliver each song with gusto and intense feeling.  I highly recommend this album to blues lovers who want to hear what the blues is all about and what the blues can be!

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