Fabrizio Poggi & Enrico Pesce, Hope, Appaloosa Records
Fabrizio Poggi is one of European’s finest harmonica players and an outstanding exponent of the blues. He’s recorded over twenty albums and has been twice nominated for a Blues Music Award. As well as that his 2017 album, Sonny and Brownie’s Last Train, along with Guy Davis was nominated for a Grammy.
He’s teamed up with Enrico Pesce, another Italian musician for his latest album, simply entitled Hope. Enrico is a concert pianist and Professor of Music at the Liceo Musicale in Alessandria.
The eleven songs on the album are all underpinned by Pesce’s piano and Poggi’s vocals, with the latter’s tasteful harmonica featuring to lovely effect in each of the songs. They are helped along the way by the fine vocals of Sharon White (long-time backing vocalist of Eric Clapton), Emilia Zamuner and Hubert Dorigatti. The songs are a mixture of spirituals, blues and originals by Poggi and Pesce. Unlike much of Fabrizio’s work over the years, this is not a blues album per se, despite a few blues chord progressions in Pesce’s skillful piano work, but it coheres as an album of songs for the moment, all beautifully performed.
As the album title suggests, the songs hit a note of hope – Italy, like many other places around the world has seen a lot of suffering over the past year or more because of the pandemic (see our interview with Fabrizio about this here). Goodness knows, we all need some hope. Songs like Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad, Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen and Hard Times all reflect the troubles of the past year, but Ben Harper’s I Shall Not Walk Along and Song of Hope help lift the spirits with the sense that life can be good again.