The Sophisticated World of Schema Records

The Sophisticated World of Schema Records
Jakob Baekgaard By

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Schema records was founded in the beginning of 1997 by Luciano Cantone and Davide Rosa. The label's aesthetic profile is described in the following way: "Although the roots of the label are mainly influenced by jazz and bossa nova, Schema has an appeal for all kinds of music and embraces true experimentation since it's the real knowledge of our past mixed with today's technologies that makes the true basis of music making."

The result is music that both looks back and forward. What most Schema-releases share is a sense of sophistication. Many of the records are shaped by attentive producers like Gerardo Frisina and Nicola Conte who know how to create a sound that is both contemporary and fresh and are aware of everything that is hip about the past.

Indefinita Atmosfera

While it is one of the earliest releases in the Schema catalog, the album Indefinita Atmosfera is a perfect example of the luxurious Schema sound. The group Neos likes to travel in many different directions and the musicians create a canvas with a wealth of colors. There is the groovy mixture of Indian tonality, breathy flutes, organ and Fender Rhodes on "Indian Diary" while "Cosmic Groove" is exactly what the title claims: a celestial slice of otherworldly funk in the spirit of Lonnie Liston Smith. The title track features vocalist Kate Jenkin moaning with sensual pleasure as electric bassist Aldo Mella gives rhythmical massage. With classsy touches of samba, swinging jazz, Latin music, funk and fusion, Indefinita Atmosfera is a perfect cocktail of smooth sounds and beguiling rhythms.


More is the second album from the project Balanco by bassist Davide Penta and pianist Pippo Lombardo. Here, they refine their lounge bossa nova sound with ethereal female vocals, sampled beats and hand-played instruments. Imagine Antonio Carlos Jobim as a club owner who caters to a new crowd that has moved from the beach into the balmy atmosphere of a nightclub. Ticking drums, swashes of organ, strings and jazzy guitar is all part of the mix and suddenly the sound of a muted trumpet emerges on "The Bachelor Waltz." Penta and Lombardo are clearly in love with the past and the cinematic sounds of the sixties have a special place in their hearts, but they also make music that feels contemporary and fresh.

Act On

Antonio Carlos Jobim also pops up on the second album by Soulstance called Act On. The Brazilian master is saluted on the track "Inspired by Antonio Carlos," which takes the gentle rhythms and soft guitar musings of Jobim and adds an elegant setting with shimmering Fender Rhodes, strings and a warm, acoustic bass. The talented brothers Enzo and Gianni Lo Greco are the masterminds behind Soulstance. The brothers can play pure modern jazz with a nod to saxophonist John Coltrane, as they showed on Reflections (Schema, 2003), an album which was released under their own name, but here they show a more eclectic side of themselves with traces of bossa nova, Latin music, funk, lounge and soul-jazz. The album is a fine example of the musical gifts of the Lo Greco brothers.

Les Hommes
Les Hommes

A group with the name Les Hommes. It sounds unmistakably French, but behind the name one finds three guys from London who know what it means to be hip. Their self-titled second album is a virtual encyclopedia of cool music from the sixties with a modern lounge touch. The main ingredients are Hammond organ, vibes and percussion. Together they create sensual rhythms with a cinematic feel. A case in point is "The Fourth Homme," a sly reference to Carol Reed's classic film noir The Third Man (1949), which introduces a tasty little organ groove and adds chiming vibes. Another composition, "Pousada Do Amor," contains a short sample of thunder and rain and morphs into a stylish noir-groove. The group makes music for an imaginary movie that is worth hearing.

Rosalia De Souza
Brasil Precisa Balancar

The sensual voice of Brazilian songstress Rosalia De Souza has graced the music of Les Hommes, but she is also an accomplished solo artist in her own right with several albums on Schema Records. Brasil Precisa Balancar finds the singer at the height of her game. She sings sophisticated bossa nova wrapped in lush arrangements by Roberto Menescal, who has also produced the album. The result is an album with an incredible attention to detail and an organic sound. The bossa nova city above them all gets an homage on the composition "Rio De Janeiro" and there is no doubt that this is the real thing. There is the characteristic Brazilian blend of melancholy sweetness and rhythms lighter than air and classic instruments like flutes, warm acoustic guitar, ticking drums, exotic percussion and breezy brass. The album is like a gentle kiss carried through the wind and blown across the sandy beaches of Copacabana.




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