...loving the music - that's the feeling I get from this wonderful recording, that the players her are honoring a musical style that has touched their hearts and souls, one that they love and respect. As far as I can tell from their website, Quadro Nuevo are an Austrian band with multinational influences and passions - everything from near-eastern to tango to music of the Balkans to North Africa to Italy. It is the music of Italy - the pop songs of the 1950s and 60s - that are featured on this disc. Many of these songs have almost, sadly, been in effect lost to those who love them - they are simply not played much any more. Quadro Nuevo did tours of Italy on which they not only researched and learned this music, but played it to the people, on the streets. The experiences moved them deeply - and you can feel it in the performances they turn in on this disc.
The basic quartet - Mulo Francel (assorted saxophones and clarinets), Robert Wolf (guitar), D. D. Lowka (acoustic bass, percussion) and Andreas Hinterseher (accordion) - is joined by a number of guests, including a very tasteful string quartet. Of the thirteen tracks appearing here, only one includes a vocal - but the instrumentals this band performs sing with a voice of their own. The music here evokes the streets of Italy beautifully - and the emotions of the people who fill them. Many of the melodies here will resonate within your memory - there are several that we have all heard, if only in passing or in the background of a film (for those of us who haven't been fortunate enough to travel to the source).
The arrangements lie gently in a jazz vein, but never abandon their popular melodic foundations to over-the-top improvisation - it just wouldn't fit the mood, and the band recognizes that. They handle these tunes with respect and love, at times approaching awe at the beauty of the melodies and sentiments they carry. Each member plays an important role in the overall group sound - no one tries to steal the show, everyone working together to make the whole much greater than the sum of the parts.
This album is thoroughly enjoyable - a real find. I stumbled upon it by accident, seeing a display in a local store that the international buyer had set up. He added a note with his comments, calling it `...one of the top ten international albums of the year' - I'd have to wholeheartedly agree. It's a delight - pass it up at your peril.