Letizia Gambi: Blue Monday
Produced by Lenny White
with Special Guest Ron Carter
Release Date: February 12, 2016
Musicians: Lenny White: Drums; Helen Sung
, Donald Vega
: Piano; Gil Goldstein
: Accordion; Ron Carter, John Benitez
, Daryl Johnson
: Bass; Jisoo Ok: Cello; Hector Del Curto: Bandoneon; Pete Levin
: Keyboards; Dave Stryker
, Nick Moroch, Tom Guarna: Guitar; Hailey Niswanger
In September 2012, multifaceted gifted singer-songwriter Letizia Gambi realized her musical vision of creating a singular debut by melding her Neapolitan-Italian roots with Black American Jazz. This album, Introducing Letizia Gambi
, was a richly innovative collaboration between Gambi and legendary Grammy-winning producer/drummer Lenny White of original compositions and inspired arrangements of off-the-beaten-path gems. The project was strewn like red roses with a cast of stellar players including Gato Barbieri, Chick Corea, Ron Carter, Wallace Roney, Patrice Rushen and others.
To the outside world, the making of Introducing Letizia Gambi
might have seemed like a fat pockets-funded cakewalk for a pampered well-connected princess. From the inside, the harsh reality was a series of plot thickening roadblocks, deceit-riddled back stabs, hard-earned mercies and dire realizations. The most stunning of the latter is that shortly before the long and winding process of recording her debut, through mysterious and tragic happenstance, Letizia inexplicably lost the hearing in her right ear—a heavy secret she managed to keep from everyone until halfway through the sessions.
There is no explanation for what I have," the singer states. I was talking on a mobile phone with no pain whatsoever when, all of a sudden, I heard a sound like water going into my ear. Basically what I've learned is that my ear is perfect but the nerve, which they tried to regenerate, does not transmit signals."
My ear is not a handicap," she insists. I see it as 'having a singularity' , It's hard but It's my challenge. I don't want sympathy. I want to be an example of someone that didn't give up on her dream. I want to send a positive message to whoever will find obstacles on the path of life: don't give up!
Letizia's hearing loss happened in September of 2009. Serendipitously, Letizia met Lenny White that October at The Blue Note jazz club in Milano. White agreed to work with Letizia upon the understanding that she would have to learn many things about the music industry in general and jazz heritage specifically. Today, he proudly calls the voracious Letizia, a human dynamo and the best student I've ever had." That statement is made abundantly clear by the profound progress Letizia has made between her 2012 debut and her even more rewarding new work, Blue Monday
. The 13-song collection reveals her coming more into her own style of interpreting jazz (first inspired by brassy theatrical divas Liza Minnelli, Shirley Bassey, Italian singer Mina and Portuguese vocalist Dulce Pontes, expanded via studies of instrumentalists Miles Davis and John Coltrane, with further polish gleaned from Carmen McRae, Frank Sinatra and Anita O'Day), as well as expressing her inner life through the art form.
Unlike the making of her first record, producer Lenny White was infinitely more demanding this time around. The result speaks for itself. I demanded her very best representation of this music. It's a dedication you have when you understand that this is the highest language spoken on the planet. You don't get that overnight but I'm very proud of her. I see Letizia Gambi as a work in progress with potential to be an iconic international star."
Letizia Gambi is a stunning vocalist!"—Sting