|Lucia Fiorini in 2013|
(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.
Not yet a subscriber of our Wednesday Breakfast Headlines?
Join the mailing list for a weekly roundup of Jazz News.
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)
As a former alumni, I can add Lucia has the ability, technique and scale to cover pretty much any musical genre thrown at her. She has jazz roots and rock sensibilities and a capacity to do everything in between. She's a real professional and undiscovered talent.
I have spent many an evening with Lucia as she “holds court” with her music. Her distinctive vocals draws you in first,,, with it’s “Smokey” smoothness and dynamic range. Then she finishes you off with her sweet tasty melodic piano playing. Together, these two attributes are contagious, and keeps you involved in her musical world, and you are there until the last note of the last song of the last set! Play on Lucia!
Many thanks for this Fraser. It means a lot from a musician that I have looked up to for over 30 years since we first met.
Still hoping for some playing time ahead with you!
So nice to see such a charming review of my friend and very talented one-time-cohort Lucia.
In a world dominated by singers with backing tracks Lucia offers the real thing: proper music played by proper musicians, performed in a manner that is both creative and accessible. In my time playing with her I was always taken by the quality of her singing and playing and her ability to connect with any audience, whether they were dancing, listening or simply enjoying the ambience.
I'm very glad you found Lucia so entertaining, Mr Blain, and made the time to write this review.
No wonder you're such a good song writer David, everything you write is poetic prose and it's so good to share a love of words in music with you. Thank you.
I'm very honored Gavin and thank you so much.
Yep, she is a good 'un. It was a musical highlight on Maasdam.