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Album Review

Rossana Casale's tribute to her biggest female influences, Strani Frutti, is an incredible album that manages to capture both Casale's delicate vocal power and the spirit of the women it is paying tribute to. With an ace backing band and a firm understanding of how to achieve her tributes, Casale has provided a very engaging album. Her sensual vamp through Cole Porter's "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" is an incredible tribute to Marilyn Monroe, capturing the spirit of the original while giving it the exotic twist that Casale's voice can provide. The "Medley" that appears in the middle of the album serves as a tribute to both Judy Garland and Elis Regina, jumping back and forth between the two artists through the incredible string work from the Solis String Quartet. Occasionally her ambitions do not live up to her performance, although this only happens a few times. Her take on "Strange Fruit" is not as powerful as Billie Holiday's, but it remains a heartbreaking tale of racial prejudice in anyone's hands. The same does not hold true for "Summertime," a noble but inappropriate tribute to Janis Joplin that suffers from a heavy clash of styles when Casale attempts the Joplin method of singing. Still, this is a very good album that only takes a few questionable paths along the way. Fans of vocal jazz may be intrigued, especially by the tracks performed in Casale's native Italian. And it cannot be said enough that her backing band is incredible, giving this album the necessary push to bring it over the edge. Strani Frutti is a success because it avoids being pretentious, and Casale's obvious passion for this material makes this a recommendation.


Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

The New York-born daughter of an American father and an Italian mother, Rossana Casale has grown into one of Italy's most adventurous musicians. Her songs have been featured in such Italian films as the Pupi Avati-directed movie Una Gita Scolastica, while she toured with Teatro dell'Opera Raffaele Paganini in the musical comedy An American in Paris. She recorded an Italian version of "Someday, My Prince Will Come" for the restored edition of Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Moving to Italy...
Full bio
STRANI FRUTTI, Rossana Casale
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