Carmine D'Amico Ensemble - Volume 1
Carmine D’Amico is a studio musician of great standing. He made a very early start, under the guidance of his father, and recorded a demo with his brother Chris at the age of 9.
Between the ages of 9 and 11,
he was featured on hits by the Shirelles, Connie Francis, Frankie Avalon
and others. By the time he
was in his teens, he was considered one of the top session players in
He picked up his musical
career after a tour of duty in the US army and since then has worked
with artists as varied as Bobby Darin, Patti Austin and Henry Mancini.
If you’re a fan of “The Godfather”, listen for D’Amico on
the soundtrack – especially on the wedding scene.
The songs reviewed here are
taken from his album on Jazzbone records which, at the time of writing,
is only available by mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does It Ever Rain In Heaven
lulls you with a very smooth jazz guitar intro over an atmospheric
midtempo backing. The
pretty melody is quite dreamy and hypnotic.
The guitar sound turns rockier and more reminiscent of Al Di
Meola halfway though and, guess what, I’m still hanging in there when
it does. It’s a real
contradiction but enjoyable.
A lovely bass intro leads
into the slow, wistful Angel which is written in waltz time.
The very clean guitar carries the melody which again is a sweet
one. Once more, as the song
builds in intensity, an orgy of string-bending ensues.
D’Amico’s experience in film music must explain his sense of
A mellow, funky, piano-led
groove opens Twilight . It’s
a very sparse production which has a relaxed feel – until the jacket
comes off, the sleeves are rolled up and the axe attack begins again.
As it subsides, the song drops back into its groove but something
got lost along the way for me...
The only vocal track, Life Is
Too Short, opens with clean bass picking from Boris Kazlow and it
reminds me of Anthony Jackson’s classy playing.
The horns and pseudo-latin beat detract from the classy opening
however. Carmine’s wife
Ronee provides the vocal which – I’ll be honest – had me reaching
for the “skip” button. I’m
sure there is a message in the lyrics but I found that I couldn’t
listen to it.
The solo musings of You Speak
To Me In My Dreams remind you that Mr D’Amico really knows his way
round six strings and he delivers another pretty melody.
The song sounds as though it’s a one-take affair and what holds
your attention is the human-ness of the “hands-on-strings” sound and
the gorgeous big acoustic it’s placed in.
After reading Carmine
D’Amico’s impressive biography and listening to this 5-track taster,
I couldn’t help wishing that he would record his mellow acoustic
guitar CD and follow it up with a crazy, inspirational electric CD.
I’m sure I’d enjoy both but these two styles on one disc, let
alone one song, are hard to reconcile.
Jazzbone Records -no catalog number available - Producer Carmine D’Amico
by Chris Mann