Joe Barbieri – Dear Billie (2019)

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Italian singer Joe Barbieri‘s 7th studio album is a tribute to Billie Holiday that starts off and unfolds like a letter, an imperative confession. “Two pillars of jazz have forged me more than any other – Chet Baker and Billie Holiday,” explains Barbieri. “To the first I dedicated an album a few years ago entitled ‘Chet Lives!’. I still owed a debt of gratitude to Lady Day, which, with this project, I hope not so much to extinguish (that is impossible) but at the very least to sublimate. As a kid, listening to Billie’s songs allowed me to enter into a ‘different’ emotional dimension, it gave me access to a range of sensations that were already mine even though I wasn’t yet aware of it. And thanks to her, thanks to her way of singing to the world, I felt understood, watched over, forgiven.” Throwing their weight behind this private story, three other bigshots of the Italian jazz scene, Luca Bulgarelli (double bass), Pietro Lussu (piano) and Gabriele Mirabassi (clarinet) provide just the right amounts of artful measure and immense intensity to bring about the right sonorous framework for songs such as ‘I’m A Fool To Want You’, ‘The End Of A Love Affair’ and ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’, to name just a few, before arriving at the eponymous ‘Dear Billie’ (the only new song on the record), in which Barbieri’s dreamy yet suggestive voice moves freely and incisively in this very personal and vibrant letter. BIOGRAPHY Joe Barbieri is a fascinating anomaly. In many ways a music industry outsider, he has nevertheless been able to build a career around a very personal journey while winning the approval of critics, colleagues and his sizeable audience. His 2004 debut album ‘In Parole Povere’ was an irresistible melting pot that melded world music to jazz via the noblest tradition of the Italian ‘cantautori’. Its follow-up, ‘Maison Maravilha’ (2009), included the beautiful ballad ‘Normalmente’ and ‘Malegría’, a haunting fado in which Barbieri duetted with Cuban star Omara Portuondo (Buena Vista Social Club). A tour to promote it resulted in ‘Maison Maravilha Viva’ (2010), a live CD/DVD package recorded in Rome. 2012 saw the release of ‘Respiro’ via Harmonia Mundi and an extensive worldwide tour to promote it, while the following year saw him record the tribute record ‘Chet Lives!’ on the 25th anniversary of the death of legendary singer/musician Chet Baker. 2015 saw the release of ‘Cosmonauta Da Appartamento’, the title song of which included audio tracks sent in by fans all over the world that were then mixed in the studio. This experiment also aimed to raise the awareness of the participants about the issue of migrants and to collect voluntary donations in favour of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Barbieri’s most recent release is 2017’s minimalist latin jazz focussed ‘Origami’.


01. I´m a Fool to Want You
02. The End of a Love Affair
03. The Very Thought of You
04. I´ll Be Seeing You
05. I Get Along Without You Very Well
06. Dear Billie
07. What a Little Moonlight Can Do
08. Don´t Explain
09. When You´re Smiling
10. Facendo I Conti


Released: May 17, 2019)
Label: MustHaveJazz/Membran