Gino Vannelli - The Gist Of The Gemini

EricEric USA
edited August 1 in year-1976

Recorded in England and co-produced by Gino, his brother and long-time collaborator Joe and the legendary Geoff Emerick, his fourth album 'The Gist Of The Gemini' took a step closer to progressive rock with dazzling results.

,Gino Vannelli - The Gist Of The Gemini
ARTIST: Gino Vannelli
ALBUM: The Gist Of The Gemini
LABEL: A&M
SERIAL: SP-4596
YEAR: 1976
CD REISSUE: 1990, A&M, CD 3112

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada Flag
LINEUP: Gino Vannelli - lead & backing vocals, organ, clavinet * Joe Vannelli - electric & acoustic piano, clavinet, synthesizer * Richard Baker - organ, synthesizer, bass synthesizer * John J. Mandell - timpani, percussion * Graham Lear - drums * Dido - congas, cuica, timbales

Additional Musicians: Jay Graydon - guitar * The John McCarthy Choir - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Love Of My Life * 02 Ugly Man * 03 A New Fix For '76 * 04 Omens Of Love * 05 Fly Into This Night * 06 War Suite: 1) Prelude To The War, 2) The Battle Cry, 3) To The War, 4) Carnal Question, 5) After The Last Battle, 6) To The War (Reflection) * 07 Summers Of My Life

WEBLINKS: Site Link

Background

Our boy Gino - the undisputed king of hairy chests, became a middle-of-the-road crooner following 1978's smash hit 'I Just Wanna Stop' but the Montreal based superstar's output prior to the 'Brother To Brother' album released the same year was far more progressive and fusion based.

Signed to A&M thanks in large part to famed trumpeter Herb Alpert, Vannelli built a steady cult following on both sides of the border with his poppy funk, jazz rock blend on 1974's 'Powerful People' and the critically lauded 'Storm At Sunup' released in 1975, although the best was yet to come. Recorded in England and co-produced by Gino, his brother and long-time collaborator Joe and the legendary Geoff Emerick, his fourth album 'The Gist Of The Gemini' took a step closer to progressive rock with dazzling results.

The Songs

Opener 'Love Of My Life' is more typical of Vannelli's early and even later output and goes down like Steely Dan with a smooth groove and a Stevie Wonder-like vocal style making for a full-bodied and tasty musical cocktail. From the sounds of it Gino was hopeful the latter half of the 1970's would break away from the rose-coloured shadows of the previous decade in 'A New Fix for '76' and with its disco back-beat his wish came to pass.

While the expansive 'Omens Of Love' is one of his more touching ballads with dark orchestration and haunting melody, this guy had lovelorn romanticism down to a science, no wonder women swooned. The funky and ethnically percussive 'Fly Into This Night' is the last of the song-based tracks before the album's proggy masterpiece 'War Suite' delivers the goods.

Part Vangelis circa 1978's 'Hypothesis' and ELP/Keith Emerson with a smattering of Santana, this six-part epic dealing with the emotional and always topical issues of War features a choir and no shortage of ideas. I only wish he had gone a step further and recorded a full-blown progressive album as a follow-up but it was not to be as the closing 'Summers Of My Life' alludes to the sweet direction horny housewives all over America would adore and purchase in droves just two short years later.

In Summary

I have to admit after 1981's 'Nightwalker' I've had nothing but a passing interest in Gino's music. The video for 'Black Cars' was fun to see on MTV but I never bought the record and 1990's 'Inconsolable Man' had moments of greatness but beyond that, I have no clue what he's been up to other than what's available on the official web site. Time to play catch-up I suppose although it's hard to imagine anything could surpass the sophisticated quality of the early albums, especially 'The Gist Of The Gemini'.


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Comments

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    gdazegodgdazegod Lostralia

    Big fan of Gino, probably up to 1990's 'Inconsolable Man'. Superb musician all round.

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    DaveTDaveT Buenos Aires, Argentina

    I should get around to finally reviewing 1981's 'Nightwalker'. I'm also a fan of Gino's output from the mid 70s up to 1990.

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