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Luca Zabbini — One
(Aereostella, 2021, CD)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2021-10-15

One Cover art

My first exposure to Luca Zabbini was 14 years ago with Barock Project’s debut album, Misteriosevoci. At 23, the young Luca displayed some incredible keyboard chops, rivaling Keith Emerson. After several subsequent Barock Project releases, Luca desired to create a new musical identity, showcasing a different approach from Italian prog rock and his band. Recorded during the pandemic lockdown, Zabbini played all the instruments, engineered the recording, and handled the mix and mastering. This was the perfect time for Zabbini to rework his compositions, featuring elements of folk, pop, and 70s rock, making his new solo album One quite a departure from Barock Project. One kicks off with “What’s Left of Me,” a delicate acoustic song that evolves into emotional 70s prog rock. “Everything Changes” follows with a string quartet intro that shifts into a bluesy rock tune. Then out of nowhere Zabbini channels his inner Billy Joel for some urban rock on “Hello.” Next is the jazz-rock fusion song “Taking Time” that also features Zabbini’s Hammond organ chops. Shifting gears again, Zabbini presents the neo-classical “Portrait” that also reminded me of Judy Collins’ 1968 ballad “My Father.” And then staying in the same decade, the acoustic “Constantine Cry” recalls Jethro Tull’s “Fat Man.” “The Mood of the Day” sees the return of Zabbini’s Billy Joel for a psych pop ballad, followed by the slow bluesy 70s rock “No One There.” Then he takes us in altogether different direction with the well-crafted and melancholy “Karlsruhe Rain.” The tenth song, “Help Me to Sleep,” is an acoustic ballad with some similarity to Paul McCartney with a surprise baroque break in the middle. The album ends with “I Don’t Know,” another Billy Joel influenced ballad with woodwinds and piano that climaxes with military snare, trumpets, and 70s prog. Probably not at all what you expected and you may need a few listens for the music to permeate so you can begin to appreciate what he has accomplished with One.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases

Related artist(s): Luca Zabbini

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