Over the last few years, the young musician and composer Simon Hanes has worked tirelessly to channel his deep love and infatuation with 1960’s/1970’s soundtrack music into his own personal vision and homage to the style through dedicated songwriting, and the integration of the totality of his musical influences. After graduating from New England Conservatory and spending time playing bass in the then-Boston-based No(ise) Wave unit Guerilla Toss, Hanes adopted the “Luxardo” persona as an arranger, composer, conductor, and guitarist, and went on to assemble a band of epic orchestral proportions. Consisting of close friends and fellow classically-trained musicians, the resulting band is the ambitiously sizeable 14-piece Tredici Bacci. NNA Tapes now has the distinct honor of presenting their first full-length album “Amore Per Tutti” to the world.
Tredici Bacci’s 2014 recorded debut EP “The Thirteen Kisses Cassetta” on NNA introduced the masses to the Luxardo sound world, ripe with the sounds of a past era of time. Now, after nearly two years of diligent work and craftsmanship, Hanes has created an album that presents the next logical step in the band’s development. Retaining the same sonic influences that they wear proudly on their sleeves - classical Italian and French soundtrack music of the Sixties and Seventies, Spaghetti Westerns, big band jazz, lounge, and showtunes to name a few - Tredici Bacci introduces the element of artistic collaboration to bring the band to the next level and give way to a modernization that creates a unique sound like no other. United not by style, genre, or approach, but rather by a mutual love for these classic sounds, Hanes has assembled an incredibly diverse cast of guest musicians to work side by side with his band, ranging from obscure Italian virtuosos, to modern underground heroes, to well-known and established musicians from all backgrounds. This collaborative element forms an unexpected cohesion through Hanes’ talents as a visionary arranger with supreme orchestral chops.
Tracks like “Give Him The Gun”, featuring the vocals of JG Thirwell (Foetus), snarl forth with the pissed off drawl of a grizzled cop, sweating through his wool suit on humid summer day in the dirty city, dodging trash cans through back alleys while in hot pursuit of an evil outlaw. Complete with a grunge-like chorus, the band whales with a funky elegance featuring plenty of raspy horns and adventurous strings. “Vendetta Del Toro”, featuring Charlie Looker (collaborator of Zs and The Dirty Projectors) on vocals, weaves a Western tale of classic revenge as our gunslinging hero reveals his savage plans for ultimate vengeance through a plodding march of triumphant proportions. On “Modern Man”, written and sung by NNA artist Ryan Power, beautifully fluid female vocals accompany Power’s signature smooth croon through a loungey 6/8 shuffle filled with reflections of romance and it’s inherent climaxes and pitfalls. “Slusher”, featuring Vermont’s own Ruth Garbus, finds the band in a Seventies soft fusion setting, rapidly darting around unexpected melodic shifts and robust harmonies, with lush strings interlacing through speedy Bossa rhythms and Garbus’ dynamic vocals. “Drowned”, featuring Jennifer Charles (of Elysian Fields and Lovage; collaborator of John Zorn) is perhaps the most sultry cut on the album. Driven by Luxardo’s deeply twangy electric guitar, it invokes the essence of a dimly lit Parisian café at nightfall, with an air of noir and mystery permeating through Charles’ steamy, forlorn vocal delivery. The album’s closer, “Nessun Dorma”, brings Luxardo’s dreams to life as he joins forces with eccentric Italian multi-instrumentalist and composer Vincenzo Vasi to reinvent this classic Puccini operatic aria. Vasi’s exuberant singing and Italian lyrics would feel right at home with motorbikes zipping by through a narrow cobblestone Roman street, while the band’s accordion and piano lines dance perfectly in stride with the mid-tempo percussion and flawless brass punctuation.
The Bacci band shines brilliantly on every track, reminding us of the exceptional tightness of Hanes’ writing and arrangement with every moment. Each instrument is crucial and prominent, with equal emphasis on every musician’s role in creating an encompassing orchestral whole. The instrumental tracks dispersed throughout the album act as segues between the guest collaborators, while also standing out on their own as gorgeous and elegant tunes, from the upbeat openers “Columbo” and “Ca C’est Cantare” to the Western-style foreshadowing of “Avante”, to the delicately heartbreaking allure of the slow dance “Souvenir De Beaucoup D’Amor”. Tredici Bacci prove themselves to be masters of harnessing the power of mood, capable of captivating the listener through music and transporting them to different worlds in the mind. These musician’s talent and finesse with their respective instrument becomes more and more apparent with each listen.
When all is said and done, “Amore Per Tutti” is the perfect statement of the goals and aims of Luxardo and Tredici Bacci. It is a record of colorful pop explorations that are rooted in musical timelessness, but are also steeped in modernity through the spirit of collaboration, checking all pigeon-holes and categorizations at the door. Hanes’ depth of knowledge of music is made apparent through the wide variety of styles, techniques and moods that he is capable of utilizing alongside his highly talented band, together showcasing true, unbounded musicianship. In an age of information overload and compartmentalization, contemporary dilemmas such as genre or trend can end up imposing limits on creativity. The music of Tredici Bacci, however, seems to transcend these hurdles by celebrating the inherent beauty and love in all music.
"The title of this album, “Amore Per Tutti” (Love For Everybody) is a hint as to the inspiration which led to its conception, as well as a thinly veiled reference to a film by Federico Fellini.
Over the last few years, I have had the pleasure of crossing paths with many musicians and artists who, like me, draw a great deal of influence from the musical conventions of an era distinctly different than our own.
By collaborating with musicians who draw inspiration from the same influences as myself, I hope to celebrate the fact that every creative act of music is reliant on direct human relationships - relationships that are, when you get right down to it, responsible for the creation of something distinct and uniquely beautiful.
Every singer, songwriter, lyricist, producer, composer, arranger, and musician on this record is celebrating their shared love for the infinity of possibilities that are encompassed by the act of making music; you’ll hear Morricone, Bacharach, Gainsbourg, the mid-1960s, the early 70s - the rain-soaked streets of Paris, the open plains of the Wild West, the crime-ridden streets of downtown LA - pleasure, pain, sex, hate, fear, anger, blood, sweat and tears; but most importantly, I guarantee you’ll hear love for everybody."
-Simon “Luxardo” Hanes
released November 11, 2016
Sami Stevens: Voice
Jake Baldwin: Bb Trumpet & Flugelhorn
Daniel Pencer: Alto & Tenor Saxophones
Jesse Heasly: Electric Bass
Ethan T. Parcell: Drumset
Samuel Lisbeth: Rhythm Guitar & Congas
Aaron Gelb: Bass Clarinet
Cale Israel: Trombone
Hannah Bureau & Abigale Reisman: Violins
Alexandra Simpson & Abby Swidler: Violas
Ben Swarts & Junko Fujiwara: Cellos
Hunter Jack: Whistling
Borey Shin: Accordion
Evan Allen: Piano, Various Organs, Rhodes
Simon “Luxardo” Hanes: Electric Guitar & Compositions