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World Music CD Reviews Jazz

GIANMARIA TESTA

By Ernest Barteldes
Published June 27, 2006

Extra Muros
Harmonia Mundi

In his first U.S. release, this husky-voiced Italian singer/songwriter brings classical, folk and jazz elements to the table, adapting and blending these influences to suit his needs. On the witty “Il Mio Gallo” (My Rooster), he employs a 1930s-inspired arrangement to tell the story, with clear sexual overtones, of a bird that can no longer wake him up because “he cannot tell the day from the evening or the night.” “Joking Lady” has a manic pace to it, reminiscent of an action-movie chase sequence and admirably showcasing the chops of trumpeter David Lewis and guitarist Claudio Dadone. On “Come Un’ America” (Like An America), he creates a tango-meets-Mediterranean feeling and, in the lyrics, laments the discovery of an impossible love affair, which is “an island lost in the blue, rediscovered but unreachable like an America.” Another highlight is “Un Po’ Di Là Del Mare” (A Little Beyond The Sea), a sentimental song that tells of a utopian land where existence “heeds no borders, as truthful as the eyes of your son when he laughs,” and which features a great bass solo by French jazz virtuoso François Moutin.