Classics: Mario Biondi & The High Five Quintet – This Is What You Are (Opolopo Remix) (Expansion)
From his 2006 ‘Handful Of Soul’ album, Italian singer Mario Biondi would soon get to international recognition alongside The High Five Quintet. A collective of studio musicians featuring Fabrizio Bosso (trumpet, flugelhorn) and Luca Mannutza (Piano). But also Daniele Scannapieco (tenor saxophone) and Lorenzo Tucci (drums). Not to mention Pietro Ciancaglini (double bass). As many people made famous for their collaborations with Nicola Conte on the same label (Schema Records)…
‘This Is What You Are’ would resurface the year after on Ralph Tee‘s Expansion Records imprint. This under the form of a remix by the likes of Peter Major, aka Opolopo. With the latter eventually doin’ the same 6 years later on Gregory Porter‘s ‘1960 What?’ for the same stable.
A timeless outstanding piece of art on its original form, ‘This Is What You Are’ just got given the right extra amount of emphasis. With thanks to an extended key led intro in addition to finely rearranged pieces of bass, vibraphone, and strings here and there…
‘This is What You Are’… And just how we like it as a matter of fact!
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Catania, Italy native Mario Biondi comes from a family of musicians. With is dad, Stefano Biondi, also a singer, his passion for music began in his early teens when he sang in his church choir.
He started working as a session singer. Then, back in 1998, he had the opportunity to sing as the opening act on Ray Charles‘ Italian dates.
As a matter of fact, his first big break occured back in October 2004. This with the memorable ‘This Is What You Are’. A cut that saw him sharing the duties with Alessandro Magnanini and Mario Ranno aka Was A Bee.
Initially planned to launch the career of Mario Biondi on the Japanese market, this cool swingalong came to the attention of Norman Jay. The latter helpin’ it to get onto BBC 1‘s playlist. Then eventually including it on the vol. 5 of his ‘Good Times’ series of comps.
Biondi released his debut-album – ‘Handful Of Soul’ – along with the High Five Quintet in 2006. And, in less than 3 months, it went platinum. UK label Expansion givin’ ‘This Is What You Are’ a new life the year after with remixing work courtesy of Opolopo. Just the way they did a few years after with Gregory Porter‘s ‘1960 What?’ as a matter of fact
2013 marked a new step in the maturation of Mario Biondi‘s career and profile with the release of ‘Sun’. An album which he co-produced with Jean-Paul ‘Bluey’ Maunick of the Incognito fame and Leon Ware. It saw him sharing the vocal duties with luminaries such as Chaka Khan, Al Jarreau and Omar to name a few. Meanwhile 2015 saw him delivering his ninth album – ‘Beyond’ – featuring the enlightening ‘Love Is A Temple’.
More recently, by the end of 2016, Mario released ‘Best Of Soul’. A double CD including his tracks from his ‘Handful Of Soul’ album along with some new material including ‘Stay With Me’. A cut which features Fabrizio Bosso on trumpet and the late Vincent Montana, Jr. (MFSB, The Salsoul Orchestra) on vibraphone.