Alberto Baldan Bembo

The Smart Set

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This disc pairs together the soundtracks for the Italian erotic comedies L'Amica Di Mia Madre and Lingua D'Argento, both of which were composed by Italian composer Alberto Baldan Bembo. Although the films these scores were penned for have a comedic bent, the music itself is no laughing matter: Bembo skillfully mixes jazz and soul elements with the smooth melodicism of easy listening to create an entrancing lounge delight. Good examples of this approach include "Tema Di Barbara," which layers soothing strings and a jazzy trumpet over a gently funky bossa nova rhythm, and "Pedro Come," which builds from a single acoustic guitar line into a full-blooded slice of cocktail jazz that pits rollicking piano riffs against a dreamy string arrangement. Another standout cut in this vein is "Oblo," a gently rhythmic cut that alternates tranquil flute-led instrumental sections with soaring female vocals. Other tracks have a strong, danceable edge to them: "Night Samba" layers an exploratory, jazzy horn arrangement over a spicy, infectious samba rhythm and "Savana" builds a rhythm ready for the dancefloor from pounding tribal drums and funky guitar riffs, then layers some alluring, wordless female vocals over it. All the cuts on each soundtrack benefit from tight arrangements, lush production, and a melodic consistency that makes this disc a joy to listen to from start to finish. All in all, The Smart Set is an ideal pick for fans of Italian soundtracks and an ideal introduction to the world of Italian lounge music for novices.

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