Friday, June 15, 2012

Gino Vannelli - Crazy Life (1973)

This may be one of the most random, out-there posts I ever make. Gino Vannelli is definitely a pop figure, but there is a jazz sensibility on some of material that he releases. It may surprise many that are familiar with Gino Vannelli that he actually attended McGill for composition. In that regard, the harmonic and rhythmic content of his songs indicate that he is a trained composer and musician. Strangely enough, Vannelli's heavy use of chromatic harmony and the rhythmic basis for some of the tracks of this album actually remind me a lot of Jobim. This is his first release after Herb Alpert at A&M Records gave Vannelli and his brothers a contract. Tracks like "There's No Time" and "Crazy Life" anticipate Vannelli's later commercial success with his genius composition of ballads. It is important to note that Joe Vannelli, the group's keyboardist, arranged all the material and the good tracks on this album owe a lot to his arranging skills. As is true with many of Vannelli's early albums, the lyrics are either absurd or just plain bad on some of the tracks. This is one of those albums that I listen to the memorable melodies, rather than immersing myself in the lyrics. Even though this is a bizarre album to post, in my own opinion makes some fine crossover pop music, and this is where it all began. The single most amazing thing about this album may be the fact that it really is ahead of its time. Much of the instrumentation and electronic sound of this album is a few years ahead of its heyday.