If it is true that the making of an artist at 360 degrees it is defined by their artistic integrity, in that case nobody can deny that the Italian Blues Harmonica Maestro and singer/songwriter Fabrizio Poggi belongs to that category.
The Grammy-nominee artist and winner of the Bluebird Reviews 2020 Artist Of The Year Award has never been shy in complementing his Blues/Gospel/Spiritual roots with other music genres, throughout his outstanding career, as proved by Poggi's previous studio album called For You, which saw the Italian artist delivering a body of work of remarkable artistic depth, heavily influenced by layers of Blues and Jazz.
As it happened for millions of artists worldwide, the inability of touring the world because of the pandemic had forced Poggi to spend almost the whole of 2020 at home, as everyone, a time that the Harmonica Maestro has wisely used not only to reflect on the current status of the world but also on what the future can bring to us all as people, if we decide to work together.
Those considerations, through times, have then been translated into lyrics, with Poggi trying to work on the best sonic platform on which to deliver his own personal thoughts, a platform that would allow the Italian artist to express also the way that he "feels" his music, right now.
Poggi has been working with many fellow worldwide renowned artists, through the years, including the Italian pianist and composer Enrico Pesce, with whom Poggi had, for several years, discussed the opportunity of writing an album together, when the time was suitable for both musicians.
Fate and pandemic made possible that this artistic meeting finally would take place, in the form of an album called Hope, the 24th of Poggi's career and the first one where Poggi brings to a wider scale his will to expand the Blues traditions into different musical forms, with the help of Pesce, one of the most talented and respected musicians in Italy, for his body of work as a pianist and as a film score composer too.
The musical combination of Poggi and Pesce generates a record of remarkable emotional intensity; Pesce's piano playing is stylish, inspired, imaginative and highly effective, creating strong foundation to Poggi's lyrics and vocals and providing, at times, moments of exceptional creativity, by shuffling layers of Blues, Jazz and Classic with great elegance and class.
An aspect that strikes a special chord, within Hope, is the level of attention to details provided by Poggi, both in his songwriting and his musical delivery. The Italian Harmonica Maestro digs deep, through his lyrics, into the world he has been living in and witnessing, during the last 14 months, a world that has faced one of the hardest moments in its history and has taken away so much from people.
By the same token, though, Poggi sees the light at the end of the tunnel, encouraging people to keep believing in the future, if we work all together as one human race. In that respect, the opening tune of the album, called Every Life Matters, encapsulates exceptionally well the concept of general Hope expressed by Poggi's inspired lyrics (....you can kill a dreamer but you can't kill a dream...).
Even the choice of the covers included in Poggi and Pesce's new album is truly awe-inspiring; from The Animals' The House Of The Rising Sun to Ben Harper and The Blind Boys Of Alabama's I Shall Not Walk Alone (... Hope is alive, while we're apart. Only tears speak from my heart. Break the chains that hold us down and we shall be forever bound...), the two artists design original and inventive arrangements, giving to one another the necessary space to let their musicianship breath effortlessly, gifting great emotional efficacy to the listeners.
Hope is not only another very successful chapter in Fabrizio Poggi's outstanding career but also a very strong artistic statement on Enrico Pesce's talent as a pianist and as a composer. "Fear Can Hold You Prisoner, Hope Can Set You Free", a line taken from The Shawshank Redemption movie and stated on the album's sleeve notes sums perfectly the two artists' vision and collaborative effort on one of the most original, sincere, touching and emotionally fuelled albums of 2021 so far.
Hope is out now and it is available to be purchased at Appaloosa Records