TIME OUT

TIME OUT
15-22 January 2004
GIANMARIATESTA –ALTRE LATITUDINI (Le Chant du Monde ; France)
“ Gianmaria Testa’s gravelly, nicotine infused voice often reminds listeners of legendary cabarettista Paolo Conte. Both hail from Italy’s northwestern Piedmont region, and both write timeless, bittersweet songs drawing on a sophisticated palette of sounds, including tango blues and bossa nova. But where Conte’s muse is baroque and exuberant, Testa’s work is resolutely intimate, as insidious as a twilight fog and as beguiling as the touch of silk. Testa’s fifth album, Altre latitudini (Other latitudes), serves up a program of the haunting, highly personal songs that have won him a cult following in Europe. Among its highlights: “Na stella”, in which Testa’s velvety, whispered vocal and the impossibly gorgeous playing of pianist Rita Marcotulli quietly conjure up images of the sea and the night sky. Marcotulli and trumpeter Enrico Rava bring a wistful touch to the disarming ballad “Nient’altro che fiori” while Testa’s seductive growl and Enzo Pietropaoli’s sassy double bass reveal the roguish undercurrents in “Dentro al cinema”. Altre latitudini’s top-notch session musicians also include Piero Ponzo and Gabriele Mirabassi (both on clarinet) and David Lewis (trumpet), with Fausto Mesolella’s electric guitar adding a luscious wash of wah-wahs and a bluesy twang to Testa’s customary acoustic arrangiaments (“Tuareg”, ”Voce da combattimento”). Still, there’s something about the simplicity of guitar and melodica (as on “Potrai”) that best shows off the earthy warmth of this extraordinary artist, whose smoky tones and beautifully crafted melodies always find their way straight to the heart.”

Marion Lignana Rosenberg