Vocalist Mafalda Minnozzi has released her new album Cinema City – Jazz Scenes From Italian Film very soon after her critically acclaimed 2020 release, Sensorial, showcasing a different aspect to her talents as she explores songs of Italian film. Her creations are romantic, as these cinematic flavours so often are. Nonetheless, they are filled with imaginative and original improvisations that contrast well with the luxurious harmonies combining to produce sound distinctive of Italian film.
Minnozzi planned and recorded the album in Brazil during the COVID-19 lockdown and she has commented on how “it occurred to [her] that just as the character Totò, from Cinema Paradiso, revisited his life via the clips from the films he grew up with, [she] too sang these songs as if they were scenes from life. They reconnected [her] with what they meant to [her] from [her] childhood all throughout [her] artistic evolution.”
Three tracks are from the 1988 Cinema Paradiso. The first of these, Love Theme – Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, transports us to the title track of the late Ennio Morricone’s composition. Minnozzi exaggerates the track’s melody alongside special guest and saxophonist Dave Liebman. The other two Cinema Paradiso tracks come towards the end of the album, Se and Maturity. They are equally heartfelt and provide a beautiful close to Minnozzi’s collection of Italian cinematic songs.
The seventh track, Anonimo Veneziano, comes from 1970 film of the same name and demonstrates Art Hirahara’s impressive playing on the organ as well as some very virtuosic playing from pianist Tiago Costa. The film is about romantic reconciliation of a past love at the end of a life; Minnozzi reflects this in her presentation of the song through her rich and dynamic singing style.
One of the stand-out features of Minnozzi’s new album is her ability to impart a variety of moods across the album, and even within tracks. Her performance is as dramatically impressive as the films she revisits.
La Dolce Vita; Loss Of Love; Metti Una Sera A Cena; Love Theme – Nuovo Cinema Paradiso; Amapola; Amici Miei; Anonimo Veneziano (Cuore Cosa Fai); E La Chiamano Estate; Nella Fantasia; L’appuntamento (Sentada A Beira Do Caminho); Arrivederci Roma; Se – Nuovo Cinema Paradiso; Deborah’s Theme; Maturity – Nuovo Cinema Paradiso (54.27)
Minnozzi (v); Tiago Costa (p); Sidiel Vieira (b); Ricardo Mosca (d); Paul Ricci (g); Dave Liebman (ss); Graham Haynes (c, elec); Art Hirahara (org); Luca Aquino (flh); Jorginho Neto (tb). Brazil, March-May 2021.
Musica Poplare Italiana – MPI 2319