Rocco Reviews…

It has been quite awhile since we have reviewed music on, so it gives us great pleasure to return to Rocco Reviews with a review of Ivana Parnasso’s latest release, Licence To Sound as well as Nicola Conte’s Umoja. And a way overdue review of Jumpin’ Up, The Italian Swing Collection.

Ivana Parnasso – Licence To Sound

Licence To Sound is Ivana Parnasso’s fourth album, following Episode 3 (2014), Spirograph (2011) and Pick! (2010).

Parnasso, who hails from Marsala Sicily, is an artist of many disciplines. Musically speaking, however, her influences come from jazz, funk and is greatly inspired by the sounds of the 1960s and 1970s, particularly soundtracks from Italian and American cinema.

With Licence To Sound Parnasso captures beautifully the vintage crime drama in a modern Balearic and downtempo collection of songs all written, composed, arranged and performed by Parnasso with bassist Drew Bass from the swing group Jumpin’ Up on Mystery Action, The Brazilian Job, Spy Waltz and Blue Storm as well as flutist Claudio Giambruno who performs a solo on Shinin’ Gold.

One can hear these influences and inspiration in Licence to Sound. 10 tracks, each one with a cinematic vibe of the classic secret agent/crime genre. Tracks such as Sicilian Mission, The Brazilian Job and Mystery Action instill images of fast cars, chase scenes, close calls, shots ringing out, physical encounters, both violent and romantic, all shot in 35mm color film.  Licence To Sound is an original soundtrack in anticipation of its movie.

The Brazilian Job from Parnasso’s Licence To Sound. Video by Cinerocco.

2015 Interview: 20 Questions with Ivana Parnasso

20 Questions with Ivana Parnasso

Nicola Conte – Umoja

From Bari, Puglia, Italy Nicola Conte is a musician, music producer and DJ. An artist who is always exploring.  His body of work is most impressive. From 1999’s Jet Sounds (Bossa per due in the US, 2001) to Other Directions to Love & Revolution (2011) to his many collaborations with artists such as Stefania Dipierro, Gregory Porter, Gerardo Frisina, Rosalia De Souza, Marvin Parks,  Raashan Ahmad and Gianluca Petrella.

Conte has in recent years been experimenting with what he calls “…spiritual or cosmic Afro-jazz..”   From releases such as African Spirits, Let Your Light Shine On, The Higher Love, People Need People, New World Shuffle, Nigeria/African Spirits and African Spirits/Tribes Conte submerges himself into this sound and his latest release Umoja, Conte continues this exploration.

With the lead vocals of British singers Zara McFarlane, Bridgette Amofah and Myles Sanko, Umoja (Unity in Swahili) uplifts with songs such as Arise, Dance of Love & Peace, Into The Light of Love, Soul of the People and Umoja Unity. All composed by Conte and Alberto Parmegiani.

And like many of Conte’s projects, a magnificent lineup of musicians are recruited:

Zara Mcfarlane – Lead Vocals On Arise/life Forces/freedom & Progress
Bridgette Amofah – Lead Vocals On Dance Of Love & Peace/soul Of The People/flying Circles
Myles Sanko – Lead Vocals On Into The Light Of Love
Timo Lassy – Tenor Saxophone
Teppo Makynen – Drums
Pietro Lussu – Fender Rhodes , Wurlizter, Acoustic Piano
Alberto Parmegiani – Guitar
Abdissa Assefa – Congas & Percussions
Ameen Salim – Fender Bass & Double Bass On Freedom & Progress/Flying Circles/Umoja Unity
Marco Bardoscia – Electric Bass On Dance Of Love & Peace/Arise/Life Forces
Luca Alemanno – Fender Bass & Double Bass On Soul Of The People/Heritage/Into The Light Of Love
Simon Moullier – Vibraphone On Arise/Heritage
Dario Bassolino – Fender Rhodes Piano & Moog On Soul Of The People/Into The Light Of Love
Magnus Lindgren – Flute On Into The Light Of Love
Fernando Damon – Drums On Heritage
Milena Jancuric – Flute On Heritage
Pasquale Calo’ – Tenor Saxophone On Flying Circles
Hermon Mehari – Trumpet On Freedom & Progress
Paola Gladys – Vocals On Flying Circles/Freedom & Progress
Chantal Lewis – Vocals On Into The Light Of Love
Jaelee Small – Vocals On Into The Light Of Love

Umoja Unity from Umoja

Far Out Recordings

Nicola Conte Biography

Nicola Conte

Jumpin’ Up – The Italian Swing Collection

Swing. The old school. But fresh. Italian style. This is Jumpin’ Up and their 2021 release The Italian Swing Collection.  Wanna dance? Wanna swing? Hit the floor. These are the guys. Starring:

Tony Marino – Voice

Giuseppe Montalbano – Guitar

Andrea Di Fiore – Doublebass

Giuseppe Vasapolli- Piano

Giuseppe Valzoni – Drums

Carmelo Sacco – Tenor Sax

Nicola Genualdi – Trumpet

Ino Marchetti – Baritone Sax

Jumpin’ Up doesn`t mess around, performing Italian classics such as Carina, Buonasera, Un Bacio A Mezzanotte and one of this reviewer’s all-time favorites, Renato Carosone’s Tu Vuo’ Fa L’americano  a la swing, even the Domenico Modugno classic Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu (Volare) takes a turn on the dance floor!

Un Bacio a Mezzanotte 

official website