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Luca Giordano - My Kind of Blues
14 songs; 76:13 minutes; Suggested
Styles: Modern Electric Blues; Chicago Blues; Smooth, Jazzy Blues
Why would Blues luminaries like Bob Stroger, Chris Cain, Sax Gordon, Marty Binder, and Harlan Terson help record a CD for an Italian artist they didn’t know? Was it because he paid them a whole bunch of money? Maybe, but, what’s more likely is that they wanted to help when they met Giordano, discovered his love for the music, and heard Luca’s impeccable licks.
Sure there are scads of guitar heroes and string benders out there, but Giordano is truly blessed with fretboard sensibilities, tone, and style. He is not a shredding wizard nor a throttling mechanic; he is a guitar whisperer. And, when his whispers, the guitar talks back in a full range of amazing notes, emotions, and sounds. This guy didn’t just go to the woodshed, he visited an entire lumber yard!
Born in Teramo, Italy, in 1980, Giordano learned guitar when he was 20 years old. Constant improvement and a deep passion for the Blues led to a period in Italy playing with his first band "Jumpin’ Eye Blues Quintet." He moved to Chicago and collaborated with several Blues artists like the Les Getrex Band, Sharon Lewis and her Texas Fire Band, JW Williams, Eric “Guitar” Davis, Jimmy Burns, and many more. He performed at the Chicago Blues Festival in 2008 with James Wheeler and in 2011 with Eric “Guitar” Davis. Festivals have been aplenty in both Europe and the United States where he performed with many of the above mentioned and more, like Nellie “Tiger” Travis, Sax Gordon, and the late Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. A look at his current 2012 schedule shows many European appearances backing both Demetria Taylor and Bob Stroger.
Recorded mostly in Europe, “My Kind of Blues,” is Luca’s first solo album. At 76 minutes plus, it gives more than one’s money’s worth. Including two Giordano originals, the CD’s 14 songs are mostly instrumentals, and the ones with vocals are sung alternately by Bob Stroger, Chris Cain, “Linda;” Luca himself sings on three. The band is composed of standout Italian musicians with guest appearances by more Italian compatriots as well as the above mentioned American stars.
Across the set, Giordano nicely mixes slower numbers in between up tempo songs. The styles include Chicago Blues like Jimmy Rushing and Count Basie’s “Goin’ to Chicago,” here sung by bassist Bob Stroger with great Hammond organ by Franco Angelozzi. Stroger’s own “Something Strange” features the same lineup.
The instrumentals find Giordano going smooth and Jazzy on the title track the way Stevie Ray Vaughan could do on songs like “Lenny.” More “cool” is heard on George Benson’s “What’s Goin’ On” and Giordano’s other original, “Hooker’s Theme.” Luca channels his finest Otis Rush licks on Rush’s “Right Place, Wrong Time” with “Sax” Gordon blowing his namesake along with Fabrizio Mandolini also on sax. The same crew nail a killer version of Chris Cain’s “Tippin’ at Taylor’s.”
Speaking of Chris Cain, he adds guitar and sings his unique baritone on his own mid-tempo song, “The Day All Your Good Luck Goes Away.” Pippo Guarnera is simply classy on both piano and organ.
I would like to meet Luca in person and let some of his enthusiasm and love for Blues captivate my interest the way it has on so many fellow artists. Until then, I’ll just have to dig his engaging, entertaining, and creative work in recorded form.
Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and at www.wkccradio.org in Kankakee, IL.