FAME Review: Chiara Izzi - Motifs
Chiara Izzi - Motifs


Chiara Izzi

Dot Time Records - DT9026

Available from Dot Time Records.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Someone made a very wise decision to kick off Chiara Izzi's Motifs with a vibrant but lightly sassy version of I Get a Kick Out of You, a song already naughty when written due to its then-scandalous mention of cocaine. This is only my third encounter with a Dot Time label release, but it's becoming increasingly clear that the label enjoys artists who dance over the perimeter of norms—not by miles and not because that's their ambition but rather because it's their beingness. Izzi favors a perky vocal mode that slides between beatnik swinger, nightclub adept, and hip stage show chanteuse. Pianist Andrea Rea frequently beefs up the latter but can cut things up nice and angular when solo time comes, while bassist Nicola Corso capers all around the bottom line (catch My Shining Hour for a great example).

Engineer / mixmaster Alexandre Bolle show his skills early on in emphasizing Gino del Prete's drumwork in Milton Nascimiento's Travessia, the trippily clatterous percussionistics landing halfway between green swaying forest and frenzied urban landscape. Most techs would've sublimated that part of the song, damped down the bold tones, but Bolle's tweak makes the imagery far more vivid than would otherwise be the case. Then Izzi sets up with a Swingles Singers-ish El Cacerolazo that soon gets McFerrin / Ella-esque, purely scatting the entirety of the track, a tongue-twister and a half. Just as you're getting out of breath merely in the listening, the song lets down into her own balladic Another Day, where the singer's Italian accent blooms, inflecting her lyrical recitations, adding notably to the nuances.

I have to emphasize that del Prete's an intriguing drummer, often akin to Brian Davison (The Nice / Refugee) or Pierre van der Linden (Focus), Bolle showcasing him so artfully that the guy oft expands the backgrounds of selections to prog-neoclassical boundaries, other times counting out the tempi in more jazzy milieux. Rea in Il Pescatore (The Fisherman) cops the main riff from Birdland to a center point, wherefrom, after a languid intro, Izzi takes off in several directions before the cut draws to an end. The closing title, Deep in a Dream, ends things off in a more reflective context, a meditation tempered by a certain exuberance leaving the listener with a happy melancholy, which isn't quite the oxymoron it may sound to be, though you won't know that until you hear the song.

Track List:

  • I Get a Kick out of You (C. Porter)
  • Travessia (M. Nascimiento)
  • El Caceralzo (J. Girotto)
  • Another Day (C. Izzi)
  • It Had to Be You (JOnes / Kahn)
  • Cantabile (Petrucciani / Izzi)
  • Segni del Tempo (Cimaglia / Izzi)
  • My Shining Hour (Arlen Mercer)
  • Il Pescatore (F. de Andre)
  • Stockholm Sweetin' (Q. Jones)
  • Deep in a Dream (J.V. Hesuen)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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