Gino Vannelli – All Those Nights in Montreal …

Hometown boy turned man; Gino Vannelli, is coming back to Montreal in November …

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What else is new?

The man who started his musical career as a drummer in Montreal and a current resident of Portland,Oregon – often comes home. He frequently visits his Mom and was most recently in Ste. Agathe to play a festival. He was also in Montreal scouting out the location for his next hometown gig. The Rialto Theater on Avenue de Parc. A newly renovated ‘concert hall‘ which impressed Mr. Vannelli immensely …

‘A few months ago I came to check out the Rialto because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to play there. We met the owner Ezio and I was really impressed so I decided to play multiple nights there. It’s a beautiful theater and the sound is so good. Even the balconies – I felt as if you could reach out and touch people on stage.”

Vannelli is playing at the Rialto on the 2nd and 3rd of November. He is bringing his Portland band with him and people can expect new material from an upcoming Blues/ Jazz album along with some ‘twists’ on the classic stuff. Twists that Vannelli seems to have always been drawn to.

“I was a drummer first and was drawn to the premiere drummers of the time. Buddy Rich, Ed Thigpen, Alvin Jones and Max Roach. Those guys were the cutting edge Jazz guys. The pop guys back in the day, were bringing something new  – they were were being helped by new techniques of engineering. The idea of putting two mikes far away from the drummer and letting the room speak, that was done in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Suddenly, in the mid sixties, the British groups started to close mike the drums, placing the microphone on the bass drum and closer to the snare. I worked with Geoff Emerick, who did most of all the Beatles’ stuff and he explained how they made that transition . It was fascinating.”

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Gino Vannelli’s first started making waves in the seventies. Following a stint at McGill, a time when fellow Montrealers Frank Marino and Sass Jordan were rocking the local stages – Vannelli decided he was looking for something else. A different sound. Following a stint in New York city, Vannelli ended up in Los Angeles and earned a record deal at the age of twenty-one. Listening to Vannelli’s early catalog – the ‘full’  and the ‘big’ sound came through louder and clearer than most of the Rock or Pop music at that time …

” It felt natural to me …” Explains Vannelli. “It was how I heard and felt music at the time. I was very curious about synthesizers and how you could manipulate them to sound like ‘real’ instruments. It gave the records an interesting sound and I had these tunes on my mind at the time. Another thing was the rhythm section. I really liked the hard rockin’ rhythm sections like Wyman and Watts of the Stones. I made sure the band we had going in the mid-seventies and late seventies had a really great rhythm section and I think we succeeded …”

Succeed is an understatement …

09 03 11_7048xStarting in 1974 – the hits started coming in bunches.

‘People Gotta Move” made it to No. 22 on the Billboard Top 100. On February 15, 1975,Vannelli became the second Caucasian performer to appear on Soul Train – a television appearance which opened the doors for him to tour and open up for Stevie Wonder.

In 1978, the song “I Just Wanna Stop” – sent him on a high-flying trip which landed Vannelli back on earth a different guy. That song earned Gino a Grammy nomination, was number one on the charts in Canada and number four in the U.S. Along with “Crazy Life,” “Powerful People,” “Storm at Sunup,” “The Gist of the Gemini,” and “A Pauper in Paradise” – Vannelli earned four Juno awards including Best Male Performer in the 1970’s. Gino Vannelli was on top of the world …

He was not finished there. His musical appetite – just warming up …

Stay tuned for Part Two

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