Roberto Tola – Under The Leo Sign (ENG review)

Smooth Jazz, World Jazz
Roberto Tola

Our friend Roberto Tola’s sunny music arrives with this new album. It’s jazz, it’s smooth, it’s fusion, but above all, it’s a universe of pleasure that this guitarist and composer cultivates with love on his island of Sardinia. With eight original compositions and a cover of Al Jarreau’s “Roof Garden,” it becomes evident that Roberto Tola could very well be Californian, as his sound closely resembles the West Coast of the USA. If you don’t know him, you could almost be certain that it’s an American work.
You have to listen closely to realize that his guitar playing is distinctly European, with stylistic effects that differ greatly from those of American musicians. It’s in the arrangements that Roberto’s compositions sound like American works, mainly due to his use of brass, keyboards, and sometimes even drums, which can sow doubt. But then a track like “Says” comes along to awaken our memory with its European sound and distinct Italian sense of melody. This is the talent of Roberto, an international artist who draws inspiration from all the sounds dear to his creative heart, resulting in his unmistakable style.
For years, we have supported him at Bayou Blue Radio for his originality and the joy his music brings to all who hear it. Each of his albums, including this fourth one, pushes him further in his approach to composition and creation. Take the time to contemplate his version of “Roof Garden,” a true gem with delicate guitar playing that conveys his passion for the song. On the track “Maraya,” you’ll also find trumpeter Bill McGee, which isn’t surprising since, as I mentioned earlier, Roberto Tola thinks about music like many American artists, not only in terms of composition and arrangements but also in his handling of melodies. This makes it easy for many American artists to relate to his music.
Clearly, with this album, Roberto Tola goes further, refining both his guitar playing and his compositions. Don’t be surprised to see him emerge with this album at numerous festivals, with compositions that are just perfect for starting a jazz evening. And if you want to know where all these creative ideas come from, just delve into the personalities he has encountered along the way: he has collaborated with numerous internationally renowned musicians such as Colin Towns, Carla Bley, Giorgio Gaslini, Giancarlo Gazzani, Bruno Tommaso, the famous English singer Jill Saward, Norma Winstone, David Linx, and the renowned Italian singer and percussionist Gege Telesforo. Additionally, Flavio Boltro, Paolo Fresu, Enrico Rava, and the magical Tom Harrell; the great bassist Steve Swallow, saxophonist Bob Mintzer (member of the Yellowjackets), Michael Lington, Paul Taylor, Paula Atherton, Najee, Bill Sharpe, Rocco Ventrella, Andy Sheppard, Javier Girotto, Antonello Salis, and Richard Galliano.
With all these artists we love and play on Bayou Blue Radio, it’s no wonder that the editors of Paris-Move and Bayou Blue Radio recommend this album and place it in the category of “Essentials.”

Thierry De Clemensat
Correspondent in USA
Bayou Blue News – Bayou Blue Radio – Paris-Move

PARIS-MOVE, June 26th 2023


To buy this album