It is fair to say that my introduction to this brand-new album by Italian jazz vocalist and composer Marta Capponi was very timely. I had just started creating a list of my favourite jazz standards for a forthcoming gig. So, to receive an album devoted purely to jazz standards was rather appropriate and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in.
Instantly I was captivated by the stunning vocal solo introduction of the opening track, East of the Sun and West of the Moon. Browsing through the album notes and images, I could tell this album had been created with love and with a raw emotion that would make it a very special album indeed. Therefore, I was not surprised to read that the album was created together with husband, drummer and co-producer, Emiliano Caroselli at a time when Marta was eight months pregnant with son Leonardo, whom the album is dedicated to.
The joy, happiness and love in this collection of jazz standards closest to Marta’s heart, really shines through every heartfelt lyric and through the creatively presented album artwork, together with outstanding musicianship throughout.
Having been entranced by a magical and mysterious introduction, in which Marta really establishes her distinctive vocals, the band then kicks in for this well-known swing number. A lovely mellow guitar solo by Jo Caleb sits nicely over the Hammond organ of Ross Stanley before the Hammond takes over. A very natural scat solo leads us nicely back to the melody. A lovely start to the album.
A change of feel next for Save Your Love for Me. I do like a slow blues feel especially when you have some great Hammond organ playing. This track is right up my street and it gives all the musicians an opportunity to really stretch out, which they do very well.
Next up is Honeysuckle Rose which opens with a drum feature by Emiliano Caroselli. A lively and rhythmic track showcasing more scatting by Marta over a series of band stops.
A lovely guitar solo opens the next track I’ll Be Seeing You, together with some sweeping brush work, sustained organ chords and sensitive bass playing. A lovely ballad indeed.
It’s great to hear some very cool double bass playing by Dario Di Lecce at the start of September in the Rain and in the solo. A change to piano in this track for Ross Stanley who takes a lovely jazzy solo and embellishes throughout. This track really swings.
I have to admit, the next track, Summer Lullaby, is not a song I am familiar with. It is always nice though to hear a variety of time signatures on an album and so a 3/4 track is a great addition to the track listing. I wonder if this lullaby has been included as a song that Marta and Emiliano will sing to their son Leonardo? Somehow, I feel sure they will, and this fills me with joy that Leonardo will be surrounded by so much musical beauty and love.
Nature Boy is a very well-known song which has been covered by many artists, so I was intrigued to find out how Marta had approached this song. After the slow piano and vocal introduction, it was an unexpected surprise to find the track alternating between a lively African groove and a swing beat. The vocal and drum ending make this a really interesting and unique version.
This is followed by one of my favourite jazz standards The Nearness of You. I feel the introduction of this song cries out as an opportunity to really get across the sincerity of the lyrics and Marta most certainly achieves this in a poignant moment with the guitar and bass. A stunning ballad with superb vocals and highly creative piano.
The final track, Bye Bye Blackbird, starts with vocals and drums, taking off into a swinging finale to this album allowing each instrument to shine. Some great drumming by Emiliano Caroselli and an energetic ending rounding this album off perfectly with a dramatic Hammond chord.
Life Within is an album of jazz standards performed from the heart. It is clear that Marta immerses herself in the music that marked her youth and gains obvious joy from spreading the beauty of music into the world. It has led her to a place in life where she wants to be.
I totally love the sentiment behind this album and I also admire the wonderful musical family who supported the creation of this album over and above their instrument playing: Dario Di Lecce, Ross Stanley and Jo Caleb for the musical arrangements, mixing and co-producing the album.
A beautiful collection of jazz standards, performed to the highest standard, with a wonderful sentiment of joy and happiness, absolutely oozing with love. What’s not to like? Check the album out now at:
Spotify: – Life Within
Review: Kim Cypher
Marta Capponi – Vocals | Emiliano Caroselli – Drums | Jo Caleb – Guitar | Dario Di Lecce – Double Bass | Ross Stanley – Hammond Organ & Piano
1. East of the Sun and West of the Moon 6:59 | 2. Save Your Love for Me 5:39 | 3. Honeysuckle Rose 4:20 | 4. I’ll Be Seeing You 3:39 | 5. September in the Rain 5:48 | 6. Summer Lullaby 4:19 | 7. Nature Boy 5:24 | 8. The Nearness of You 6:24 | 9. Bye Bye Blackbird 4:16
Release Date: 9 March 2021