by Stamish Malcuss
Almost two years after the success of the album The Tony Allen Experiments, and the 7inch Amore, Nu Guinea returns with a new LP, Nuova Napoli. On their latest album Nu Guinea decided to get back to their roots. Napoli, where Massimo Di Lena and Lucio Aquilina were born and raised, was a key inspiration for the new album. The group explains, “We watched their city from a distance reconstructing its energy from their studio in Berlin, calibrating the synths on the meridian of Vesuvius, the volcano that has always protected and threatened Napoli. On this album the synthesizers fill the spaces between the past and the future, tightening in a single body acoustic instruments, electronics and voices in Neapolitan dialect.” The album features: Massimo Di Lena – Drum Programming; Lucio Aquilina – Keyboards – Piano; Andrea De Fazio – Drums; Adam Pawel – Percussion; Roberto Badoglio – Electric Bass (A1, B1, B2, B3); Fabiana Martone – Lead Vocals (A2, A3, B3, B4); Pietro Santangelo – Sax (A1, A3, B2, B3); Marcello Giannini – Electric Guitar (A3, B1, B4). It is the first time that the duo has worked with such a large group of musicians, some of whom are exponents of the contemporary Neapolitan scene.
“Nuova Napoli” offers a swirling effect of a synthesizer that brings us into the world of Nu Guinea, the funky bassline enters with a drum beat that creates the perfect blend of 70’s funk and jazz to seamlessly transition into jazz-funk. Aquilina’s keyboards form the many layers over Di Lena’s drum programming. The track is ignited with Pietro Santangelo on saxophone, Marcello Giannini on guitar, Andrea De Fazio on drums, Adam Pawel on percussion and Roberto Badoglio on electric bass. The funky beat is amplified by the melody, created by a repetitive phrase, the melody fits the style perfectly. Santagelo’s saxophone style is a combination of straight ahead jazz vocabulary with funky rhythms and energy. The melody is restated with hip fills underneath by Giannini. We have entered the realm of PURE JAZZ-FUNK!
Showing their ability to create interesting song forms, “Disco Sole” is a song that has multiple sections and inspired playing though an ever-shifting musical landscape. Giannini’s guitar joins in on the track, his solo and chords are inspired and add to the interaction of Di Lena and Aquilina. Vocalist Fabiana Martone sings non-lyric lines to accentuate certain melodic elements. Again, the jazz-funk vibe is the highlight, these guys know how to groove, and the interesting form is the icing on the cake that makes it special.
Nuova Napoli transcends the band to their beginnings, getting back to the essence of what originally made this band feel exceptional, is front and center on this new album. Sometimes just tapping into your heart, is where the true artform lives. Nu Guinea has certainly circled back in a positive reengagement of their sound with great result.