Review: Mike Sponza – Central European Orchestra

Posted on: Saturday, Apr 19, 2014

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Mike Sponza – Central European Orchestra

(EPOPS: 2014-001)

Now this might initially attract some attention because Ian Siegal guests (quite unmistakeably) on the track ‘Fire’, but there are plenty of other reasons to investigate this set from Italian singer/ guitarist/ bandleader Mike Sponza. Mike has a vision for the blues in Europe, and has long been an advocate for the European sound.

He has links to many of the continent’s top performers (and he also keeps in contact with some of the best American artists – he recorded with former Muddy Waters guitarist Bob Margolin a couple of years back).

On this set his mellow, controlled, jazzy, funky guitar and fine vocals are backed by big arrangements – besides Mike’s own band – sax, bass and drums – there are 24 horns and string players involved, a pianist, percussionist and three backing vocalists, plus three guest vocalists.

The results are fine smooth blues items, somewhat akin to BB King’s sound around the end of the 70s. It is one that certainly deserves to be far better known across Europe.

NORMAN DARWEN

www.mikesponza.com

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