LIVE TROPICAL FISH; The Day Is Too Short To Be Selfish (LTF Records)

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Live Tropical Fish are an Italian band who take their mission statement and raison d’être from the complex writings of psycho analyst C. G Jung on a-casual connecting principles. The three main men in the outfit are Fabrizio Poli (percussion), Antonio Ferne (bass) and Salvo Pignanelli (guitar)and they tell us that they want to make music “that is clear and full of identity, but at the same time, in a kaleidoscopic way, also prismatic and multi-faceted … with unusual connections that come from personal preferences but that are all rejoined on the primal land of “black music” … soul, R&B, funk , jazz, Latin and afrobeat “. Confused? Well even a short listen to this beautifully presented 12 tracker will makes things a whole lot clearer. In essence the boys want to craft a soul based music which, though modern, has its standards and inspiration in what they call the “hand made music” of the 70s. To achieve that goal the threesome have enlisted drummer Micro Zagnoli, keyboardist Pino De Fazio, a wonderful horn section and some stellar guest vocalists – Deborah Jordan, Alison Crockett, Nick Rolfe, April Hill, Omar, Maya Azucena and Laurnea.

Indeed it’s Laurnea who takes lead vocal on the cut which not only stands out but which proves that this thinking-person’s soul outfit have achieved what they set out to achieve. ‘Breathe’ is a wonderful lazy, mid-tempo roller of a song with the sensitive vocal tracked by discreet brass figures and topped with a building Ernie Isley style guitar break. Much busier and almost as good is the Alison Crocket vocalised ‘Complete Me’. The music has elements of Stevie Wonder, EWF and Incognito about it – but it’s like nothing any of the three have ever recorded. Listen up to the blistering trumpet solo from Stefano Serafini.

Our man Omar is featured on the brassy ‘Rubber Soul’ and he’s clearly having a ball working the enigmatic lyrics and I think that’s the secret of this album’s success. Despite Live Tropical Fish’s theorizing they obviously enjoy making their music and that enjoyment filters down to their guests who work on everything with a refreshing passion and gusto. ‘The Day Is Too Short To Be Selfish’ is an unusual alum in many ways, but it will reward anyone who want their modern soul to be honest and adventurous.

(BB) 4/5