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Extra-muros

Gianmaria Testa

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Album Review

Circa 2005, this might seemed like the most recent release for the Italian singer/songwriter, but it wasn't actually a new record, having first appeared in Europe ten years previously. However, it had aged remarkably well, with some superb backing from the likes of trumpeter David Lewis and François Moutin on bass (whose solo on "Un Po' di là del Mare" is one of the disc's instrumental highlights, a breathless piece of sheer virtuosity). By the time of this second record of his career, Testa himself was a more assured singer and writer, with much greater depth and finesse to his voice, able to put across emotion — and humor — more easily. The latter is quite apparent on the double entendres of "Il Mio Gallo," with its arrangement that evokes vintage jazz, or the frantic "Joking Lady." But he had a lot more going for him, like the lyrical "Come un' America," which offers a romantic, brokenhearted wistfulness, or the aforementioned "Un Po' di là del Mare," whose openly sentimental lyric probably shouldn't work — but does. It confirms Testa as a talent, as he's shown in the CDs (and book) he's released since. This disc may have been a little late in arriving, but it was well worth the wait.

Biography

Born: 1958 in Piedmonte, Italy

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s

At the beginning of his career, Italian guitarist and singer Gianmaria Testa, who is often likened to compatriot Paolo Conte due to their similar, gruff-sounding voices and origins in the Piedmonte province of Italy, had much more success in the French market than in his native country. The self-taught musician, who wrote his first song at 13, was discovered by producer Nicole Courtois in 1994 after Testa had won consecutive top prizes at the Recanti Festival, an annual singer/songwriter competition....
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Extra-muros, Gianmaria Testa
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