Peppino d'Agostino

Venus Over Venice

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Because Peppino D'Agostino has such a soft and lyrical approach, Mesa chose to market Venus over Venice as an NAC or smooth jazz effort. This CD is far from hardcore jazz, but it does combine jazz elements with folk and pop--and it employs some jazz musicians, including flutist Steve Kujala, violinist Charlie Bisharat and percussionist Brad Dutz. Pieces like "Goodbye Robbie" (a melancholy ode to the late guitarist Robbie Basho), "Holy Man's Smile" and "Echo of Delphi Valley" are light enough to appeal to NAC tastes, but for D'Agostino, light doesn't mean lightweight. Although his music is gentle, it isn't muzak. D'Agostino is heard as a vocalist on the Italian-language ballad "Ancora un Istante" and a remake of the Four Tops' "Walk Away Renee," which D'Agostino (who doesn't have a great voice but gets his points across) successfully changes from Motown soul to pop-folk. 1988's Sparks would be a better investment, but Venus over Venice is satisfying and decent more often than not.

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