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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove



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ENRICO GRANAFEI

In Search of the Third Dimension

Miles High MHR 8603

 

 


 

1. Out of Nowhere
2. Meditation
3. Autumn Leaves
4. You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
5. Only Trust Your Heart
6. Bag's Groove
7. The Shadow of Your Smile
8. Wave
9. Favors
10. Calabrossa

 

Enrico Granafei - Hands-free chromatic harmonica, acoustic guitar, vocals

 

Enrico Granafei gives a fresh meaning to the concept of the "one-man band". Many people have played the harmonica and guitar at the same time (Bob Dylan is a famous - or notorious? - example). But Granafei adds a new dimension, thanks to his discovery of an inventor (Vern Smith) who devised a chromatic harmonica which left Enrico's hands free. Other chromatic harmonicas require the player to change the notes by pushing a button with the fingers but this new invention allows Enrico to alter notes with his lips. This means that he can play very complicated guitar lines at the same time as all the notes he desires on the mouth-organ.

Bossa novas seem the most congenial material for him to play, so tunes like Meditation and Wave suit him well. His sound on the harmonica is like that produced by "Toots" Thielemans, which is not surprising, because it was hearing Thielemans that inspired Granafei to learn the harmonica - and he later studied with Toots in Manhattan. Enrico graduated from the Conservatory of L'Aquila in Italy and is now the proprietor of a jazz club called Trumpets in Montclair, New Jersey.

Enrico also sings, although his vocals are not particularly laudable. But this doesn't seem to matter, given the virtuosity of his musicianship. In any case, his singing is only heard on You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To and Calabrossa - the latter (I think) in Portuguese. His extended scatting on the former is preferable to his singing.

Out of Nowhere sets the general pattern for the album, with the harmonica stating the melody and soloing against a gentle guitar background. However, on some other tracks Granafei solos on guitar as well as harmonica, in a style which reflects his classical guitar training. Only Trust Your Heart is outstanding, perhaps because it is a lovely song but also because of Enrico's lyrical brilliance on both instruments. Bag's Groove shows that he can also swing in bebop style.

In the sleeve-note, Enrico explains the album title as a reference to the multiple tasks he has to perform, which demand intricate co-ordination and create the effect of a trio. There are few enough jazz harmonica players in the world, so Enrico is a rarity. Not only that - he is also a versatile, highly talented musician.

Tony Augarde



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