Monica Mancini

Cinema Paradiso

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Monica Mancini has been careful in her recording projects to reflect her heritage and promote it without exploiting it. Her first album, Monica Mancini, was, naturally enough, a collection of songs written by her father, Henry Mancini. Her second, The Dreams of Johnny Mercer, was a tribute to one of her father's main collaborators. Cinema Paradiso features songs by many different songwriters, but its source is the kind of movie theme music in which her father worked successfully for his entire career. Mancini deliberately mixes things up in her choices of material, going back in time as far as the late '30s for "Over the Rainbow" and as far forward as "Senza Fine" from Ghost Ship, a film that opened 11 days before her album was released. And she mixes well-known songs like "Alfie" and "The Shadow of Your Smile" with worthy but lesser-known efforts such as Burton Lane and Alan Jay Lerner's "Too Late Now" from Royal Wedding and her father's "Soldier in the Rain" from the movie of the same name with lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman. She has also considered the arrangements carefully, using eight different arrangers to create settings for the songs. Some of the charts are lush, while three songs employ a single instrument as accompaniment. Yet they all work together well. And the material and arrangements prove to be good choices for Mancini's voice, which is fully showcased. It is a rich voice, and if her interpretations have their precious moments and are at times too deliberate, she also exudes warmth and feeling for the songs, making this another successful collection.

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