Album Review: Handful of Soul, Mario Biondi & The High Five Quintet, 2006

There are very few vocalists who captivate you simply with the texture of their voice. Sinatra, Holiday, Vaughan, and now Biondi. You could listen to this guy order pizza and be mesmerized. It’s fortunate that he found jazz because this record is a perfect showcase for his style. “This is What You Are” is as cool as a slimline grey suit, folded white handkerchief in the jacket pocket.

Although he is an Italian national and not a native English speaker, Biondi sounds authentically American, a brother to the greats of 50s and 60s jazz.

He makes a guest appearance on Incognito’s latest album, Transatlantic R.P.M, where he duets with Chaka Khan on a cover of Boz Scagg’s “Lowdown.” Biondi and Khan make a nice pairing on that track. Of course, with his voice, he’d make a nice pairing with a household appliance.

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