Mafalda Minnozzi: Cinema City

This exquisite disc Cinema City, from the captivating vocalist Mafalda Minnozzi, celebrates the music of great Italian cinema music – largely in the form of ballads. As it is this is warmly compassionate music, which positively glows with its soaring, beautifully arched melodic lines, sung with seductive ingenuity by Miss Minnozzi, accompanied by the dynamic playing of a splendid group of musicians from Brasil, and the inimitable guitarist Paul Ricci, who has also credited with co-arranging and co-producing this set.

Album cover - Mafalda Minnozzi: Cinema City
Album cover – Mafalda Minnozzi: Cinema City

Mafalda Minnozzi’s approach to these classic songs – written by [among others] the great Nino Rota,  Ennio Morricone, Carmine Coppola and Henry Mancini – is from the feminine viewpoint, with deep emphasis upon wonderment, humility, elements of the bittersweet heartache and often sadness, always evocative of uplifting vulnerability. The derivative idiom is thoroughly tonal, the tone luxurious and the works cast at a predominantly whispered, almost prayerful slow pace. The three songs from Cinema Paradiso: the “Love Theme…” [Composed by Andrea Morricone], “Se” and “Maturity” [by Ennio Morricone] are especially haunting.

Miss Minnozzi’s voice is gorgeous; lustrous and flawless as she digs into the meaning of each word and the emotions of particular phrases. Her voice is so whisper-soft, it feels like the lyrics emerge from her throat and chest voice, yet appear to be mere whispered breaths. And yet she manages to bring ceaseless dynamics to the soft nature of this music. Moreover the songs seem to speak to her in the secret of her heart so that they become “hers” when she sings them. But then, I’ve always believed her to be made almost entirely of music itself…

Paul Ricci’s playing is flawless. He seems to caress the strings of his guitars rather than pluck or glide his finger or nail across the strings. The Brasilian contingent of the group – pianist Tiago Costa, contrabassist Sidiel Viera and drummer Ricardo Mosca are fully attuned to the artistry and vision of Miss Minnozzi and Mr Ricci. The music is also set alight on many tracks by a constellation of big stars – Dave Liebman, whose playing on the “Love Theme…” from Cinema Paradiso combines breathtaking restraint and a sense of longing; Graham Haynes plays his cornet with radiant character on “Amici Miei” and his flugelhorn with hushed brilliance on “La dolce vita” by the incomparable Nino Rota.

Art Hirahara spacious and majestic soli on “Anonimo Veneziano” and “E la chiamano estate” adds a grand but poignant edge to the music. Flugelhorn specialist Luca Aquino is brilliant on “Nella Fantasia”, as he inhabits a special corner of this iconic song with his solo. And the dolor of Jorginho Neto’s trombone enables Miss Minnozzi to deliver “Arrivederci Roma” with heart-stopping emotion.

This may seem like “easy listening” to those naysayers and refusniks who think that way about film music sung apart from the soundtrack accompanying the motion picture, but this disc is full of its own richness and musical delight. That credit must go to Mafalda Minnozzi and the wonderful musicians who bring a cinematic feel to this music all over again.

Track list – 1: 1: La dolce vita; 2: Loss of love; 3: Metti una sera a cena; 4: Love theme – Nuovo Cinema Paradiso; 5: Amapola; 6: Amici miei; 7: Anonimo Veneziano [cuore cosa fai]; 8: E la chiamano estate; 9: Nella fantasia; 10: L’appuntamento [sentado à beira do caminho]; 11: Arrivederci Roma; 12: Se – Nuovo Cinema Paradiso; 13: Deborah’s Theme; 14: Maturity – Nuovo Cinema Paradiso

Personnel – Mafalda Minnozzi: vocals; Paul Ricci: electric guitar [1 – 4, 6 – 8, 10, 11, 13, 14]; baritone guitar [5, 10] and acoustic guitar [9, 12]; Tiago Costa: piano; Sidiel Viera: contrabass; Ricardo Mosca: drums. Special Guests – Dave Liebman: soprano saxophone [4]; Graham Haynes: flugelhorn [1], cornet [6] and electronic effects [6]; Art Hirahara: organ [5, 7, 8, 10, 13 – featured on 7, 8]; Luca Aquino: flugelhorn [9]; Jorginho Neto: trombone [11]

Released – 2022
Label – Musica Popolare Italiana [MPI 2319]
Runtime – 54:34

Featured photo of Mafalda Minnozzi by Murilo Alvesso

Raul Da Gama
Raul Da Gama
Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

More from author

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related posts

11,403FansLike
1,661FollowersFollow
656FollowersFollow
1,857FollowersFollow
5,655FollowersFollow
165SubscribersSubscribe

Featured Posts

Omar Sosa’s 88 Well-Tuned Drums: A Film by Soren Sorensen

Anyone approaching this film about the iconic Cuban composer and pianist Omar Sosa, by the award-winning filmmaker Soren Sorensen will be almost immediately struck...

Danilo Pérez featuring The Global Messengers: Crisálida

Danilo Pérez began forming his worldview - and aligning his music to it - ever since he came under the sphere of influence of...

The Feeling Messengers, Past and Present (Part II)

Miguelo Valdés & The New Messengers Of Feeling Miguel Valdés, or “Miguelo”, as he has since become known, was born in the province of La...

The Feeling Messengers, Past and Present (Part I)

Preamble Within the current renaissance of popular Cuban music, coupled with the seemingly eternal presence of its first cousin American Jazz, we are once again...

In Conversation with Carlos Cippelletti

Pianist, composer and arranger Carlos Cippelletti, is a promising young Spanish, Franco-Cuban artist from the last generation of Afro-Cuban jazz musicians born outside the...

Celebrating Jane Bunnett: Spirits of Havana’s 30th Anniversary

After dark they gather, the spirits of Havana. Is that a ghostly, but fatback-toned rapping down in the barrio where the great composer and...

Piazzolla Cien Años: Lord of the Tango@100

There is a now famous photograph of the great Ástor Piazzolla that is iconic for so many reasons. Chief among them is the manner...

Omara Portuondo, Multifaceted Gem of Cuban Music

My moon app announces that in 14 hours the Supermoon of May will be here. During a full moon I often get inspired to...

Ray Barretto · Barretto Power

Barretto Power: A Celebratory Reissue on its 50th Anniversary It was 1970 when Fania Records released Barretto Power, one of a series of seminal albums...

El Gran Fellové: Part 3- When my Parents…

When my parents bought their home in 1968, Sunset Beach was just another sleepy little beach town It spanned about one mile in length, sandwiched...

Join our mailing list

Participate in contests, giveaways and more