Giovanni Marradi

Destiny

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Is there any coincidence that his name rhymes with Yanni? Is he simply the Italian version? His expansive, sweeping keyboard creations bring to mind the Greek superstar, the one drawback obviously being economic: too much electronic percussion where Yanni often prefers the real deal. Giovanni's film score-like compositions rush the ears and generate a certain level of excitement, but don't touch the heart until he offers melodic passages on the acoustic piano. On tunes like "Children of Sarajevo," there's too little of the organic stuff; he's more interested in intense drama than subtle emotions. "Agape" begins with a synth wash, but then becomes more engaging with a lush, high-toned piano melody that flows effortlessly. Dennis Caplinger's long strokes on fiddle add a robust classical texture. The melancholy "Destiny" also focuses on the piano, with hard-to-resist results. "Angels in Flight" combines the best of both worlds, a pretty piano melody backed by a carefully placed synth orchestra. On "The Lonely Piper," Giovanni creates a synth mix of bagpipes, building ominous atmospheres, and the occasional drumbeat. His music was featured on Giovanni's World of Music on PBS and has that grand-spectacle flavor to it -- another parallel to the more famous keyboardist whose footsteps he follows faithfully in.

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