Monday, July 22, 2013

Days Like This reviewed by Steve Jones

Days Like This
Linda Valori
LeART World Music
12 tracks

What do you get when you mix a little bit of jazz and blues divas Ruth Brown, Etta James, Martha Reeves, and Sarah Vaughn together with old school Pier Angeli and opera’s Cecilia Bartoli together with an good amount of original talent?  Well, you just might get something like this young lady, Linda Valori. 

Valori is 34, was born in San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy, and she continues to live in that area today. Her father is Italian, her mother Romanian, she has a degree in teaching psychology, but her passion is singing.  Competing in bigger and bigger vocal competitions since 1995, she was “discovered” at the San Remo festival in 2004 and has gained popularity in Italy and across Europe singing blues, opera and a host of genres in between. 

Working with Larry Skoller in Chicago, she has produced her first album, a collection of Chicago blues and very old-school R&B.  One can hear the passion and feeling in her voice as she opens the CD with the title track, a Van Morrison piece that is transformed into an early 60’s girl group R&B classic by Valori.  Her voice is powerful, husky, and filled with emotion, just wanted to declare that when things are not going wrong we can revel because “there will be days like this.”  Shifting gears, the second track is where Valori attempts to overcome the aches of a lost lover in “Pain.”  With her voice blazing like a trumpet, one believes her every statement.  Mike Wheeler joins in on a big guitar solo on “I Idolize You” and again on “I Smell Trouble.”  His guitar is as passionate as Valori’s intense vocals, whether jumping to the former tune or growling out slow blues in the latter.  I smell trouble for Bobby Rush; move over, Linda Valori is in the house!

Janis Joplin’s “Move Over” get’s an R&B makeover and Linda is convincing with a voice that grabs your lapels and your head is moving up and down when she says “Come on baby, let me be, let me be!”  There is also some solid harp here and a nice solo, too.  The Ike Turner classic “The Way You Love Me” gets a swinging cover and Valori’s voice growls and makes a statement.  She gets quite soulful in “So Doggone Good” and Luca Giordano adds a nice guitar solo.  The final track “If I Can’t Have You” is spectacular and features Linda in a duet Mike Avery and is one of the tracks featuring fabulous the horn section of Marqueal Jordan on tenor sax and Doug Corcoran on baritone sax and trumpet. 

All of the above and the few other tracks make for a vibrant and beautiful initial effort.  Valori’s vocal are like butter when she needs to be, but they can also bowl you over and flatten you like a bluesy steamroller when she wants to.  This girl can sing!  Her band is up the task, too, providing a great backdrop for this singer.  Keith Henderson on guitar,  Tim Gant on keys, Billy Dickens on bass. Khari Parker on drums and Joe Rendon on percussion are the core group who provide a great framework for each song.  Vincent Bucher’s harp is poignant on his tracks and Larry Skoller on guitar along with the other soloists are solid and add great depth. 

I’m sold on this gal.  When we found out that she was in Chicago, we arranged to have Linda and her guitar player friend Luca Giordano out to Rockford for two great shows (see article on page 2). This is a great new artist who will light the blues world on fire.  I am sure that America will fall in love with her as her homeland and Europe already have.  Highly recommended!

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