Features the handiwork of the seasoned Paul Ventimiglia with speacial guests on guitar and sax - mixing memorable melodies with a groove that won't quit.
1) I Love Us
2) Baring My Heart
3) I Want You
4) Jumpin' J.J.
5) Smile In Her Eyes
6) Garbanzo Beans
7) You Look Great (When You Wake Up)
8) Weedy Wack
9) Il Bacio
10) 100 Ways
Paul Ventimiglia (pronounce Ven-tuh-meel-yuh) is a musician who we've all heard, probably without even realizing it. The gifted composer, arranger and keyboardist landed in Los Angeles in the early '80s, and has worked in a dizzying array of projects from soundtracks for film and television (Disney, New World Pictures, NBC, HBO, etc.), to commercials (Jeep, IBM, ABC, Mattel, Xerox, Volvo and others). As a keyboardist, Paul has worked for such artists as Frank Sinatra, Jose Feliciano and Shirley MacLaine.
It was while on tour with Shirley MacLaine, in fact, that Ventimiglia started writing the music that would become his first album. Working on a MIDI keyboard in his off-hours while on tour, he realized that he had an original vision to work out, and the end result is "Il Bacio" (The Kiss).
And now, welcome Paul Ventimiglia, solo artist. "Il Bacio," his impressive contemporary jazz debut on Miramar, is the handiwork of a seasoned musician with an uncanny way with melody and a sense of groove that won't quit. "I Love Us" kicks off the album in a hooky, rhythmically-charged way. Other highlights include "Baring My Heart," "I Want You," "Jumping J.J." and a tasteful instrumental rendition of "100 Ways."
Along the way, Ventimiglia displays his flair on acoustic and electronic keyboards, and we hear guest shots from friends who happen to be some of the most prominent names in contemporary jazz, including Gerald Albright and Brandon Fields on saxophone, guitarist Peter White, Carl Verheyen, Mike Miller, and the rhythm section of brothers Gregg and Matt Bissonette on drums and bass, respectively.
Writing has always come naturally for Ventimiglia, since he was a high school student in Michigan, where he has now lived for the last six years. "I joined the jazz band when I was a freshman and the first thing I did was to ask the band director, "Can I write a chart for the band?" I learned how by trial and error." Jazz had its hook in him even then. "When I was in high school, everybody else was listening to Grand Funk and Led Zeppelin and I was listening to Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Bill Evans. That's just where my head was at."
After high school, he headed off to North Texas State, well-known for its jazz department. With his degree in composition and his goal of writing for film, Paul headed for the west coast. "When I got to L.A., it was right around the MIDI and home studio boom. People weren't hiring skilled writers anymore; they were getting anybody who could get string sounds to do it for free."
When it came time to record his own album, Ventimiglia went for the real thing. "I didn't want to do any MIDI on it. It's all real players. I thought, 'if we're going to do jazz, let's do jazz the way it should be.' I wanted it to be real."
But he also wanted it to be melodically appealing. "My goal was to write easy melodies to hear and remember," he explains. "but I also wanted to have interesting ideas underneath, so that if a player picked up the CD, they might say 'wow, there's something really happening here.' I didn't want to turn off certain listeners which a lot of fusion and advanced jazz can sometimes do. I wanted it to appeal to both."
Commenting on his debut as a leader, Ventimiglia says, "As opposed to being a composer-for-hire, this is the first time I was really writing from my heart. "Il Bacio" is that honest, heartfelt statement that every composer hopes to achieve."
©1997 Miramar Images, Inc.
Gerald Albright: Saxophone
Bob Birch: Bass
Gregg Bissonette: Drums
Matt Bissonette: Bass
Brad Dutz: Percussion
Steve Ferris: Guitar
Brandon Fields: Saxophone
Paul Finazzo: Bass
Richie Gajate Garcia: Percussion
Kenny James: Vocals
Victor Johnson: Guitar
Tim Landers: Bass
John Mahon: Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Reggie McBride: Bass
Della Miles: Vocals
Tollak Ollestad: Harmonica
Doane Perry: Drums
Paul Ventimiglia: Organ (Hammond), Piano, Synthesizer
Carl Verheyen: Guitar, Mandolin
Nick Vincent: Drums
Peter White: Guitar