Mon. Nov. 30, 2020

Mario Biondi – This Is What You Are (Remix)

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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Overview
– 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.

– Lookin’ in the list of possible remixers for someone to give a contemporary (if not futuristic) feel to your music? Then chances are great you would find Opolopo on top of it along with others studio wizards such as Atjazz, Henrik Schwarz or Aki Bergen. This pretty much depending on the direction you want to give to your work, as a matter of fact.

Speakin’ of Hungary, Peter Major (Opolopo) hardly knows more than the fact it happened to be his native country. Her mom deciding to leave it during the communist period. This during a visit she made to his dad (himself a musician) who was touring in Sweden at the time. With the whole family changing nationality soon after.

Sweden being a country where Jazz has an undeniable meaning – with thanks to its prolific scene – no wonder how it got an echo on Opolopo‘s construction. As DJ, a remixer or an artist on his own rights.

Opolopo released his first album – ‘Omnifarious’ – back in 2003 on Australian label Collision Records. And he got commissioned to do his first remix two years later. This while retouching ‘Freeze The Cut’ for Comfort Fit feat. Blaktroniks on Japanese label Tokyo Dawn Records. From then, he has dropped 4 extra albums with his latest – ‘Superconductor’ – back in 2015 on Joey Negro‘s Z Records label. Meanwhile collaborating with luminaries such as Keni Burke (‘So Good’) and Paul Randolph (‘Sustain’). But also Taka Boom (‘Feels Good 2 Me’) and the late Diane Charlemagne (‘Round And Round’).

As a remixer, Opolopo made quite an impression with his rework of Mario Biondi & The High Five Quintet‘s ‘This Is What You Are’ back in 2007. But he most likely would get his breakthrough 5 years after with his Rerub’ of Gregory Porter‘s seminal ‘1960 What?’. This masterpiece bringin’ him on everyone’s lips lookin’ for the next sensation. Beginning with ours since we’ve relaunched IDMW back by the beginning of the Summer 2014. And most definitely standing among those we tend to champion the (re)works of.

His list of the likes is quite impressive with more than 100 quotes on Discogs to date and 350 on Traxsource. From Sandy Barber‘s ‘I Think I’ll Do Some Stepping (On My Own’) to Ferry Ultra feat. Gwen McCrae‘s ‘Let Me Do My Thang’. But also Deep Tenor City‘s ‘Oba’ and Jarrod Lawson‘s ‘Sleepwalkers’. Not to mention Los Charly’s Orchestra‘s ‘All Around The World’ and Lisa Stansfield‘s ‘Picket Fence’in 2015. Then what about The Jacksons‘ ‘Everybody’ which he’d retouched the year before? Or Omar feat. Caron Wheeler‘s ‘Treat You’ the year after???

Opolopo regularly updating his list since. This with Rhemi feat. Cassius‘Beat Within’. Then, more recently Rapson‘s ‘Heat’ and Kenny Thomas‘Your Love’ among others. Not to mention Kelvin Sylvester & Natasha Watts‘Fly Away’

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