Chiara Pancaldi | Precious
by Jeff Becker
Chiara Pancaldi is an Italian jazz singer that has worked with many of the great Italian and American jazz musicians, such as Cyrus Chestnut, John Webber, Joe Farnsworth, Darryl Hall, Kirk Lightsey, Fabrizio Bosso, Piero Odorici, Nico Gori, Pietro Tonolo, Marc Abrams, Nicola Muresu, Nico Menci, Stefano Senni, Andrea Giuffredi to name a few. She has performed at Umbria Jazz, London Jazz Festival, CrossRoads Jazz Festival, Sunset Sunside Jazz Club, Jazzkeller Jazz Club, Porgy and Bess, Unterfahrt, Teatro Giordano, Ancona Jazz Festival, Bologna Jazz Festival, Muze, Torrione Jazz Club, Alexander Plaz Jazz Club, Cantina Bentivoglio Jazz Club, Orsara Jazz Festival, Paradiso Jazz Festival, and many more. The energetic chanteuse has a growing catalog of albums on the Dutch label Challenge Records, and she is opening 2020 with a new one titled, Precious. Joining Pancaldi is ROBERTO TARENZI on piano, DARRYL HALL on bass, and ROBERTO PISTOLESI on drums with special guest GIANCARLO BIANCHETTI on chitarra and DIEGO FRABETTI on trombone.
Pancaldi says, “Writing music helps me to find my inner voice and to understand who I am as a musician, as a mother, and who I am as a woman. I write songs to talk about my life, my loves, and my struggles. The joy and pain. They talk about self-acceptance, about love, all kinds of love. About being able to receive from life, to be open, and also to let things go. But hold on to what is so precious.” That is the inspiration to the nine tracks contained on Precious.
“Better to Grow” is a swing groove number with Pancaldi’s warm vocal stylings bringing to life the melody. The trio dances around the vocal line with skill as the song segues between different feels. Hall’s bass solo keeps close to the theme as he moves around the board with ease. Tarenzi’s solo is a flurry of excitement as Pancaldi’s warm honey vocals enter with the bridge melody that leads to the original form to take the song to an ending. Pancaldi’s scatting during the ending vamp is executed with accuracy and style.
“The Distance Between Us” has an angular melody that features Pancaldi’s falsetto register as she smoothly crosses her tessiture. The lyrics are inspiring and flow. Pancaldi’s scatting fits the musical mood and colors. She keeps control and never pushes outside her comfort zone, ending with a stirring cadence. Pistolosi’s drumming makes this composition exciting, and his pushing and coloring the beat is magical through the entire selection. Pancaldi’s writing is focused, with storytelling lyrics and jazz-infused melodies.
Precious impresses as well, Pancaldi’s administering just enough edge to suggest a modern jazz sound while still maintaining the phantasmal vibe of everything that came before her. It also serves as an excellent showcase of her fluid voice and songwriting skills. The music is stylish, filled with jazz common ground representing Pancaldi’s most exciting work to date, with dramatic sure pitched vocals and jubilant melodies.