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REVIEW: Lucia Fiorini on a Caribbean cruise

Lucia Fiorini in 2013

Lucia Fiorini
(Cruising somewhere in the Caribbean. April 2015. Review by Brian Blain)

Where does dance music, in the old sense, end, and jazz begin? Would you expect to hearit in a bar designated for ‘cocktails and ballroom dancing? Imagine my delighted surprise, on a recent ‘convalescent’ cruise around the Caribbean, following a major transplant on my wife’s knee, when on entering the not very imaginatively named Ocean Bar with music by the anonymously named ‘The Neptunes’ we were confronted by a truly hip trio storming through a crackling arrangement, all skidding stops and starts, of Nat Cole’s Let There Be Love . Sound levels were perfectly balanced with the young US bass player and the slightly older, drummer, immaculate pros both, laying down that unassuming, non-bombastic, American time – the kind that Bobby Worth produces over here.

A further surprise when the piano player announced the next tune in an unmistakable English accent. English, yes, but with an Italian name Lucia Fiorini, as I later found out, blessed with a magnificent piano technique that was able to make even the statutory tango, rhumba and cha chachas worth listening to. Her voice too was appealing and flexible; a little dry on the lyrics with wit and humour ,and deeper, more sultry on on ballads like Johnny Mandel’s perennially popular Shadow of Your Smile or Body and Soul.

When the dancers thinned out,their close clutching US style conjuring up visions of countless night club scenes in 40’s and 50’s films,she produced a swing fest on instrumentals such as A Train,Stomping at The Savoy, and even Opus One, while on one evening , when the vibe was up ,a magnificently shouty Going To Kansas City – you don’t get that kind of thing too often from the American Songbook revivalists. Listening to jazz like this, away from the somewhat pressured atmosphere of the specifically jazz environment of the club or concert hall was awonderfully reaffirming experience, the way I imagine it must have been stumbling upon the great Shirley Horn in the years of her Washingnon restaurant residency. In the words of that long gone BBC programme,,Jazz Is where You Find It.

Lucia Fiorini has a new, immaculately recorded CD out and you can find out more about this mysteriously hidden talent at her website (LINK)

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