Argentinian-born, Canadian-based pianist Mario Romano delivers his fourth album as leader with The Journey So Far
, essentially a compilation project that takes tracks from previously recorded albums and presents them in new light. A successful real-estate developer with a strong musical background, Romano spent most of his life building a business career and after achieving uncommon success, returned to jazz after 2010. He has since become an integral part of the Canadian jazz scene and has created a high-profile with the many performances throughout the world.
The title of the album is self-explanatory as it provides but a glimpse of this man's journey through life, a journey that also incudes his role as a philanthropist. The music is culled from his debut album Valentina
(Alma Records, 2016) and the subsequent Fenyrose Non Dimenticar
(Modica Music, 2017), Dina Dance
(Modica Music, 2020) and And If You Please
(Modica Music, 2019) as well as from performances at prestigious North American venues.
Since it is a compilation, the players joining Romano vary from track to track and feature some of Canada's top-notch musicians including saxophonist Pat LaBarbera
, bassist Roberto Occhipinti
, drummer Mark Kelso
and guitarist Reg Schwager
among others. Singer Jackie Richardson
opens the album with a towering voice on the Romano original "And if You Please," accompanied by a string orchestra and trumpeter William Sperandei
The Brazilian flavored "Dina Dance" is a fast-paced number that showcases vocalist Magda Gianoukas and Roni Eytan
on sensational harmonica. From his debut album comes the beautiful ballad "Those Damn I love Yous" where the pianist demonstrates his chops on the keysall in accompanying singer Kristy. Romano takes center stage on "Encanto De Mi Nina," with a solo performance on the accordion.
One of the most beautiful songs the pianist has recorded to date is the lovely slow ballad of "Si Tu Quisieras" featuring the exquisite voice of Adis Rodriguez
singing the lyrics in Spanish with guitarist Elmer Ferrer
and Rosendo Leon
The two standards "You're My Everything" and "Non Dimenticar" from Fenyrose Non Dimenticar
help round out the repertoire leaving an instrumental version of the opening song as the finale tune featuring Sperandei on the trumpet supported by the leader and band along with a splendid string orchestra putting the cherry on top. There's no question about this one folks, it's beautiful light jazz filled with excellent vocals, remarkable solos and all-around musicianship. Though a compilation, The Journey So Far
Is one a heck of a way to celebrate the highlights of an unforgettable musical trek.
And if You Please; Dina Dance; Those Damn I Love Yous; Encanto De Mi Nina; Si Tu Quesireas; Via Romano; You're
My Everything; Non Dimenticar; And if You Please (instrumental).