The other day I noticed that I had almost every album Gino Vannelli released between 1973 and 2015 in my collection, so I (once again) indulged in a binge-listening session these past few days.
Vannelli didn’t really come to my full attention until Nightwalker (1981), an album that has been a favorite of mine since the day of its release, but I had of course been privy to his previous material.
In retrospect, I have to say that Gino Vannelli has remained a favorite singer of mine all this time. A lot of criticism has been leveled at him these past decades for his at times pretentious material (and stage presence), his musical direction, which has been – and continues to be – all over the map, coupled with, I guess, the difficulty many frustrated critics encountered when trying to neatly pigeon-hole him. Today, they simply often label him as anachronistic and leave it at that (… if the latter is true, than so am I).
For me it really all comes down to this gifted Canadian singer’s unique voice which, at age 63, seems as strong and versatile as ever, if not more so. There isn’t much I don’t like that he has released, he has always surrounded himself with excellent musicians / young talents and whenever I had a chance to see him live, he delivered 110% each time. When seeing him live I always got this vibe that Vannelli is probably a very demanding leader with a strong perfectionist streak, but his shows are the better for it.
On top of that, Vannelli is one of the very few singers I forgive for re-recording some of his material, remixing it or imposing a different vibe on (many) tracks altogether.
Simply because he is one of the very few who can.
Check him out with a bit more of an open mind.
Endless talent to be discovered here if you haven’t already.
P.S.: I always direct people to a video on youtube (“People Gotta Move”, May 2006), Gino Vannelli Live @ The Orange Lounge Toronto, Canada, just to show that Gino Vannelli has still got it (on top of that, it’s got Reinhardt Melz on drums, who is as fantastic here as Mark Craney was on many past Vannelli releases).
P.S.S.: Currently (who knows for how long), Gino Vannelli’s “Live in L.A. (2014)” (Night Walker / I just wanna stop / If I should lose your love / Appaloosa / A good thing / Wild horses / The last days of summer / Black cars / Living inside myself / Brother to brother / People gotta move) is on youtube in its entirety. If you enjoyed the first video, check out this one, which actually opens up with “Walk the Night“, the first track that really caught me way back when, and which gives you a very good impression of what this guy can (and will) still deliver today.