Italian vocalist Ilenia Appicciafuoco specialises in vintage swing and classic blues. Over the last decade she has developed an impressively authentic sounding style to match her repertoire, drawing inspiration from popular 30s vocalists such as Fats Waller, Ethel Waters and Annette Hanshaw, alongside classic early blues divas including Ma Rainey, Victoria Spivey and Bessie Smith. She recreates convincingly the colourful sounds of hot 30s jazz, singing expressively with confident rhythmic drive and dynamics, and with appealing verve.
She also plays washboard (not featured here), and does some scatting, with or without kazoo. Her blues singing is particularly striking with Brownskin Gal and Victoria Spivey’s Any Kind Of Man outstanding.
Ilenia (sobriquet “Pepper”) moulded her Jellies (did I really just write that?) in 2013. Galiffe is a very capable and versatile guitarist who gives responsive matching support, and contributes interesting creative solos. Bassist Macrini, likewise, is adept in solo as well as in rhythmic support, laying down a fine bowed opening chorus in All My Life. An enjoyable plus on four tracks is the addition of Ottolini, who plays trombone (and cornet once) with a clear tone, fluent, accurate phrasing and considerable technical skill.
All in all an enjoyably evocative and entertaining set of vocals in hot 30s style.
(1) I May Be Wrong; Comes Love; (2) Before I Met You; (1)You’ll Never Know; (2) What A Little Moonlight Can Do; Any Kind Of Man; I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter A Brownskin Girl Is The Best Gal After All; All My Life; I’ve Got The World On A String; (1) Nobody Know’s You When You’re Down And Out; The Stuff Is Here And It’s Mellow; A Good Man is Hard To Find; (48.45)
(1) Ilenia Appicciafuoco (v, wbd); Marco Gallifa (g); Emiliano Macrini (b); Andrea Galiffa (d); Mauro Ottilini (tb, c). Italy, 2019. (2) as (1) except omit Otilini.