Diana Torti is a singer, improviser, and composer based in London. She has performed in jazz clubs, theatres, and international festivals. Her CD “On A Cloud” (2019, SLAM Productions) was nominated among the best jazz vocal releases of 2019 by The New York City Jazz Record. Torti is also a lecturer and researcher and has collaborated with musical icons including Ennio Morricone. She is an activemember of the Women in Jazz Media Organization.
Sabino de Bari is an Italian composer and guitarist based in London. His compositions have won prestigious nominations and awards and his solo releases have achieved wide acclaim. His extensive performance experience includes recording and collaborations since 2001, performing as a soloist and as an ensemble leader in several international music festivals.
Since 2006, Torti and Sabino have been working together exploring musical boundaries through composition and improvisation, merging their wide experience and skills in various genres and styles of music (from contemporary classical to jazz and early music).
This album opens with ‘The Extra Something’ which is a track that gets into your head, with its Western-esque guitar warps and Torti’s mesmeric vocals describing a cure-all in the form of a ‘Something Extra’ that will cure everything from tiredness to pain and well, anything. The temptation is there, to imbibe, drink deeply but there is a warning, as Torti slides into a sleepy middle section where she tells you the drink that is ‘the ideal beverage for discriminating people.’ Tempting? Of course, it is really about capitalism. But you can try it and see.
‘Beyond Clouds’ is wistful, gentle and is a reflection on human relationships, the appearance of gorgeous colours among the grey normality, creating a sense of paradise edging closer while ‘A Little Road Not Made of Man’ is about climate change due to Man’s influence. There is a sadness that Torti manages to imbibe into this track and the guitar work of Sabino is intuitive and reflects Torti’s heartfelt lyrics perfectly.
‘Cuba Libre’ is about a ‘splendid little war’ carried off with magnificence, intelligence, and spirit, not to be concluded – there were not really good intentions behind this war. The salsa rhythms and intonation, as well as the joyful jazz vocals dropped by Torti with their African-influenced ‘eyeyeyahah’ are beautiful and a perfect fit for this number and its setting.
‘It’s All I Have to Bring Today’ sees Torti’s vocals exposed as she sings of bringing everything she has, including her heart, the character of Torti’s unfiltered voice floating over the equally bare and pared back strings of the guitar works well.
“Sonhos De Marcelo’ (Marcelo’s Dreams)” is about children and their desperate conditions in some parts of the world. The vocals lines are a carefree ‘la-la and de-dum, deo’ vocalese, almost childlike in context but there is a joy and lift in the musical lines, right to the ‘pop’ at the end, which evokes the spirit of children – innocent and vulnerable. In Marcelo’s dreams of the title, there is joy and delight, which contrast with his life – which makes the song sad somehow despite its uplifting rhythms.
‘Whisky’ is a blues-infused, delicate number with guitar setting the theme. It is about slavery. “I’m a young woman, nobody knows my name, my man wouldn’t give me no dinner.” Sings Torti, “Sometimes I feel like a motherless child so far from home.” The concluding section is Torti’ssolo voice filled with emotion and despair, yet, it is underpinned with almost intangible defiance.
‘Melodia’ is introduced with guitar from Sabino, setting an Eastern feel with the offset, rapid-fingered rhythm patterns, evocative of the Middle East. This number is about women’s condition and status, particularly in Afghanistan. Torti’s vocalese is evocative, atmospheric, and keening over a gentle, supportive guitar that reflects the vocals in its pitch and volume. A fine track where improvising musicians ping off each other and harmonies are produced.
‘Hope’ is about the positive effect of those who create poetry and songs, sharing nature and beauty with others while ‘In Spite of Everything’ is about how you can be uplifted and transformed suddenly and unexpectedly and the power of relationships. The vocalist sings of how when she was writing, some things came at the right time to inject positivity – in spite of everything.
For this album, Torti and de Bari have chosen to use the words of poets including Emily Dickenson and Christina Rossetti, although Torti wrote the lyrics to ‘Beyond Clouds’ and ‘In Spite of Everything’. These poems bring positivity and hope which connect to an inner and more intimate way of interpreting the album title “It’s All We Have”.
This album is a synergy of jazz, improvisation, classical influences, and Latin tones. The richness of ideas coming from both the vocalist and the guitarist is almost tangible. There is a connection between the pieces, yet each stands individually too. Overarching and connecting everything is a reflection on the beauty of the world we live in and humanity which contradicts the power exercised over people in many forms – slavery, poor treatment of women, and the power to destroy. There is tenderness, humility, and wonder; asparseness and pared-back feeling to the arrangements which in turn allow the spotlight to fall on the vocalist or guitarist.
Over eleven compositions, the guitar and voice work together to create a magical album.
It’s All We Have | Diana Torti (bandcamp.com)
1. The Extra Something 5:42
2. Beyond Clouds 3:44
3. Who Has Seen The Wind? 4:18
4. A Little Road Not Made Of Man 4:18
5. Cuba Libre 5:27
6. It’s All I Have To Bring Today 2:39
7. Sonhos De Marcelo 2:33
8. Whisky 6:05
9. Melodia 7:07
10. Hope 3:24
11. In Spite Of Everything 5:26
Total time 50:46
All tracks composed by Sabino de Bari
Lyrics: Emily Dickinson (tracks 4,6,10), Christina Rossetti (track 3), Diana Torti (tracks 2,11), Sabino de Bari (tracks 1,8), John Hay (track 5)
Sabino de Bari – compositions, guitar, lyrics
Diana Torti – vocals, lyrics
Recorded at Four Walls Studio in Giovinazzo (Italy), in December 2022
Mixing & Mastering by Sabino de Bari
Photo by Monika S. Jakubowska
Graphics by Cristina Lombardi
℗&© 2023 Sabino de Bari
Produced by Tambora Music