THE SMOOTH JAZZ RIDE

Fabio Mignola--Take Me Higher

With a bright Mediterranean flair and Brazilian moves intermingled with some truly fine smooth highlights, guitarist/composer Fabio Mignola oftentimes reminds one of the illustrious Marc Antoine, but with a vision all his own.  He has been the recipient of Smooth Jazz Artist of the Month awards by a few radio stations. If this latest project, Take Me Higher, is any indicator, you can clearly see that those awards were truly deserved.  On this album, there may be nothing groundbreaking in terms of novelty, but it certainly has an abundance of taste and quality. The guitar melodies sing sweetly throughout, and the rhythms are undeniably contagious and full of body.  With the occasional entry of celestial strings and even the steel pan, this one has all the romance and exoticism you’d expect on a journey across “the pond” to other lands.
 
The colorful, smooth opening and title track brings with it a lot of promise as the horns work their way through in conjunction to Mignola’s suave melody and spot-on hook.  Mignola’s guitar, the magical strings, and Brazilian aura of “The Light In Your Eyes” embody the very fabric and culture of that exotic stretch of the world, while “Sparklin’” does just that, sparkles, with fluidity and a stirring rhythm full of dance and charm.
 
The beauty of the acoustic guitar has to lie in its inimitable ability to lure the listener with a naked, crisp, and unpretentious call to the sexiness and precision of its stroked string.  When it finds its place in a setting like this, full of worldly appeal, it can be quite the chameleon, taking on the look and feel of a whole culture while serenading one into such a state of blissful escape. When the player of such an instrument can demonstrate to you his or her power to unleash all of this imagery in any single tune, you want to pay attention. You need to pay attention. Fabio Mignola has made his point here and underscored it in quite a few places. This is truly a venture well undertaken and quite deserving. Smooth jazz with that refreshingly serious approach to excellence and clear definition. Someone recently asked me:  “If you were stranded on an island, what artists would you want to hear?” Fabio Mignola would have to be one of them. --  Ronald Jackson