Italian Music in America
Beppe Gambetta, David Grisman, and Carlo Aonzo
Review by Steven Stone
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CD Stock Number: Acoustic Disc
If someone told me ten years ago that I'd love a CD made up of old Italian songs I would have told 'em they were nuts. But David
Grisman, Beppe Gambetta, and Carlo Aonzo have assembled one of the most infectiously charming CDs that I've heard in some time. What makes it so good? First, the tunes. Songs by Giacomo
Pucini, Pasquale Taraffo, Pietro Mascagni, Nick Lucas (yes, he was Italian), Nino Rota, Raffaele
Calace, and that ubiquitous "Traditional", fill this disc with lovely lilting melodies. Then there's the musicianship. These superlative pickers could make "Mary Had a Little Lamb" musically interesting. Finally, they play wonderful instruments like Beppe Gambetta's Antonello Saccu 14-string harp-guitar, David Grisman's Gibson K-4
mando-cello, and Carlo Aonzo's Pandini bowl-back mandolin.
If forced to choose my favorite selection on Italian Music in America I'd give my vote to "Duo for Two Mandolins" by Rudy
Cipolla. This selection just reeks with gentle garlic-flavored musical inflections. My second choice is the tremolo-laden
"Valtzer Fantastico" by Enrico Marucelli. Carlo Aonzo's precise and elegant mandolin technique is perfectly syncopated with Beppe Gambetta's harp-guitar accompaniment.
It's almost gotten to the point where you can take Acoustic Disc's superb sound for granted. Once more Dawg studio engineers Dave Dennison and Paul Stubblebine have created a CD that gets closer to the real sound of acoustic instruments than 99.9% of all the other recordings you'll hear. Played over a high-end sound reproduction system (boom-boxes need not apply), this recording gets amazingly close to recreating the live musical event in your room. Like wow, man.
Perhaps I'm just getting old, because music that would have been too hokey for me to enjoy in my youth is finally catching up with me. These "Sins of My Old Age" as Verdi called them, are less fattening than chocolate, but just as infectiously sweet.
Sound Quality: 95