Free Souls

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Italian guitarist, producer, arranger, and composer Nicola Conte may have issued Free Souls as a follow-up to 2011's Love & Revolution, but its recording actually preceded it. Cut live in the studio, it was begun in 2006 and finished in 2011 -- vocals were added in 2013. His basic septet -- guitar, three saxophones, trumpet, piano, and percussion -- is augmented by alternating drummers and bassists, as well as guest players and singers. The arrangements are deeply informed by late-'60s Blue Note and early-'70s A&M filtered through sophisticated soul. Conte wrote or co-wrote seven of these 13 tunes, including the killer opener "Shades of Joy," written with Gregory ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Italian guitarist, producer, arranger, and composer Nicola Conte may have issued Free Souls as a follow-up to 2011's Love & Revolution, but its recording actually preceded it. Cut live in the studio, it was begun in 2006 and finished in 2011 -- vocals were added in 2013. His basic septet -- guitar, three saxophones, trumpet, piano, and percussion -- is augmented by alternating drummers and bassists, as well as guest players and singers. The arrangements are deeply informed by late-'60s Blue Note and early-'70s A&M filtered through sophisticated soul. Conte wrote or co-wrote seven of these 13 tunes, including the killer opener "Shades of Joy," written with Gregory Porter and featuring vocals by Marvin Parks. A humid bossa groove is painted by a Wes Montgomery-esque guitar and a throaty tenor solo by Magnus Lindgren. Parks' baritone vocal recalls the spirits of Leon Thomas (sans yodel) and Joe Lee Wilson. Jose James guests on the skittering swinger "Goddess of the Sea," with fine solos by Francesco Lento's trumpet and Gaetano Partipilo's alto. Bridgitte Amofah (from dubstep outfit Rudimental) makes the first of three vocal appearances on the soul-blues title track, featuring strutting baritone sax solo from Timo Lassy and breaking drums by Teppo "Teddy Rok" Mäkynen. She also guests on the set's high point, a soul-jazz cover of Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billy Joe," illustrated by electric piano, chunky horns, snaky guitar, and tipping ride cymbal in a slow, funky vamp. She digs deep into the tune's mystery as short sax and trumpet breaks fill the ends of her lines. Melanie Charles guests on a simmering read of Ahmad Jamal's "Ahmad's Blues." Alto saxophonist Greg Osby guests as a soloist and counterpart to her righteous phrasing. Her vocal on the stirring, Afro-Latin "Spirit of Nature" is also remarkable. Parks fronts the band on an inventive, swinging samba chart for the standard, "If I Should Lose You," which thoroughly reinvents the longstanding Frank Sinatra vehicle. Amofah's contralto on a Latinized arrangement of Hoagy Carmichael's "Baltimore Oriole" channels the brooding intensity of Nina Simone. Tasha's World delivers the Latinized Afro-bop of Conte's "Uhuru" with a resolute conviction. Lorenzo Tucci's Art Blakey-esque drumming pushes the ensemble to swing harder. Heidi Vogel gives Luiz Claudio's glorious samba "Sandalia Dela" a reserved elegance as Lassy contributes a smoking flute break atop the interplay between drums and percussion. The instrumental "Sunrise" skeletally commences with a shimmering electric piano, Paolo Benedettini's woody upright bass, and Mäkynen's drum kit, but gradually transforms into a minor-key modal jazz number, sending Free Souls out on a peak. This is not so much a "retro" recording as a classic-sounding one. It summarizes six years of Conte's musical evolution and opens the door to his vision of a music, which seamlessly integrates jazz, blues, Latin, Brazilian, and soul that is both holistic and timeless.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/29/2014
  • Label: Schema (Nax615)
  • EAN: 8018344014685
  • Catalog Number: 468

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Shades of Joy - Marvin Parks (4:49)
  2. 2 Goddess of the Sea - José James (4:15)
  3. 3 Free Souls - Bridgette Amofah (3:36)
  4. 4 Spirit of Nature - Melanie Charles (4:16)
  5. 5 Ode To Billie Joe - Bridgette Amofah (6:08)
  6. 6 Soul Revelation - Tasha's World (4:20)
  7. 7 Ahmad's Blues - Melanie Charles (4:03)
  8. 8 If I Should Lose You - Marvin Parks (3:56)
  9. 9 Baltimore Oriole - Bridgette Amofah (4:19)
  10. 10 Uhuru - Tasha's World (4:22)
  11. 11 Sandalia Dela - Heidi Vogel (3:32)
  12. 12 African Other Blues - Marvin Parks (4:20)
  13. 13 Sunrise - Logan Richardson (4:46)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Nicola Conte Primary Artist, Guitar
Greg Osby Alto Saxophone
Kim Sanders Background Vocals
Flavio Boltro Trumpet
Rosario Giuliani Alto Saxophone
Daniele Scannapieco Tenor Saxophone
Fabrizio Bosso Trumpet
Gaetano Partipilo Alto Saxophone
Pietro Ciancaglini Double Bass
Teppo Mäkynen Drums
Pietro Lussu Piano
Tasha's World Vocals, Background Vocals
Magnus Lindgren Tenor Saxophone, Tenor Flute
Timo Lassy Flute, Baritone Saxophone
José James Vocals
Heidi Vogel Vocals, Background Vocals
Pierpaolo Bisogno Percussion, Conga
Logan Richardson Alto Saxophone
Bridgette Amofah Vocals, Background Vocals
Paolo Benedettini Double Bass
Michael Pinto Vibes
Luca Alemanno Bass, Double Bass
Melanie Charles Vocals, Background Vocals
Marvin Parks Vocals
Liviana Ferri Percussion, Conga, Tambourine
Francesco Lento Trumpet
Technical Credits
Hoagy Carmichael Composer, Lyricist
Ahmad Jamal Composer
Bobbie Gentry Composer, Lyricist
Gene Porter Composer, Lyricist
Ralph Rainger Composer
Paul Francis Webster Composer, Lyricist
Tommy Cavalieri Engineer
Nicola Conte Composer, Director, Lyricist, Producer
Edizioni Ishtar Producer
Gaetano Partipilo Arranger
Magnus Lindgren Arranger, Composer
Logan Richardson Composer
Bridgette Amofah Composer, Lyricist
Yusuke Yoshinaga Art Direction
L. Robin Composer, Lyricist
Marvin Parks Composer, Lyricist
Rocco De Benedictis Cover Photo
Nicola Gaeta Liner Notes
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