Massimo Ranieri's Canzone Napoletana Piccola Enciclopedia

... paraphrasing great Monty Pythons, I must share the following, as I got a musical thrill a few hours ago.

My wife musical tastes couldn't differ more from mine... yet, sometimes... when nice orchestral music, mostly adagios or vocal or vintage folk or pop is involved, our tastes collide and coincide.

As I often play the snobbish, critical, anti-pop music expert role, when she brought home a six disks deluxe set by one of her most beloved Italian singers, Massimo Ranieri, I was ready grinning about her choice... ha, that fried and refried muzak... blah!

I handled the fold-out, long bandoneon-like black and white cover... mmmmhhh, nice cover, I told myself...

I turned on her audio system and put in the Bang & Olufsen CD 5500 the first disk and...

KAPOOW!!!

Massimo Ranieri's last effort "Canzone Napoletana Piccola Enciclopedia" is a masterpiece, folks!

To many of you out there the name of Massimo Ranieri won't say that much, unless you are of Italian descent, yet now living somewhere else on the planet than your parents native Italy...

He's singing since he was a young, gifted kid... imagine he sailed to NYC with Sergio Bruni back in 1964.

An actor, both movie and theatre, a composer, a dancer, Massimo Ranieri also was one of my kate mom singers of choice and I grew with his music playing in the house... a pure, popular - in the very best extent of the term - voice... beautiful, easy, sing-a-long tunes which had the plus to be sang in the shower or around a campfire, with an accompanying guitar.

... but... but... BUT...

I wasn't prepared to "this" disk by mr. Ranieri... no!

Unfair, dear Massimo;-)

Must honestly add that arranger of the whole production has been Mauro Pagani, the musical elf whose Premiata Forneria Marconi and several other projects in a career spanning almost half a century made a better world and happier people.

His superb collaboration with the late, deeply missed Fabrizio De Andrè and his "Creuza de Ma", where the Genoa's beautiful dialect... ahem, language and Mauro Pagani's bouzouki and assorted percussions and beautiful Mediterranean/Eastern flavors enriched and made another timeless masterpiece.

Masterpiece... Mauro Pagani is a King Midas... everything he touches with his good taste and musical skills shines.

No exception: Ranieri's "Canzone Napoletana Piccola Enciclopedia" actually is a masterpiece, indeed!

Top class musicians were hired and collaborated on this project... the very best of the crop: Mauro Pagani, Ares Tavolazzi, Ellade Bandini, Paolo Jannacci, Enrico Rava, Stefano Bollani, Morgan, Npa, Antonella Ruggiero... enough, pals?

The recording is also gorgeous in quality: recorded at Officine Meccaniche in Milan and mastered at Nautilus it's a true pleasure to the ears...

An humble me was, as I told you, expecting a Christmas' thick, heavy package... a listen-and-forget playlist of boring old Neapolitans songs, good for the elders, romantic, nostalgic...

HOW WRONG I WAS!

My wife is still laughing at my face when the first and second and so on and on and on songs smoothly were played, last evening...

She also was surprised by the loving treatment these well known songs received...

As a true encyclopedia, as the title suggests, most of the most worldwide famous songs from Naples are covered... Torna a Surriento, Dicitencello Vuje, Malafemmena, Te Voglio bene Assaje, Reginella... all the above and more are sang and played with a care and a truly seldom heard loving approach and passion.

A labour of love... for this I must thanks my wife, Massimo Ranieri and Mauro Pagani.

I really enjoyed these disks immensely... and I suspect this box will age nicely in my - ahem - our discotheque;-)

I suggest to the most daredevils, yet romantic among you to take a chance on this... I bet you'll enjoy also if not speaking any Italian or Neapolitan, at all!

As we all know, music is the most universal of languages and at its best it transcends nationalities and cultures...

Check on Amazon or Ebay or at your local shop for Massimo Ranieri - Canzone Napoletana Piccola Enciclopedia - Sony Music/RCA 2015.

... ok, you owe me a beer.

... hooo... hoooooo... hoooooooooo!

P.S. - also exists a lighter 3 CDs version...

Stefano Bertoncello