Bare Naked

It’s been done before, many times, by Coltrane, Redman, and others. Strip away the drums, the piano, strip away everything—no guitar, no percussion, no backup vocals, no strings—nothing but a single voice and acoustic double bass. It’s a great musical challenge. Unlike ten fingers on a piano or guitar capable of playing melody, harmony, accompaniment all at once, here are only two voices. The music is stark. To be able to create interesting, full figured, complete musical presentations, especially of popular tunes we all know well, with two instruments, each producing a single line, is a formidable feat. Petra Magoni and Ferruccio Spinetti have shed the cover of other accompanists, dropped the pasties and the g-string, and gone totally naked. Exposing oneself like this is bold. It takes guts, talent, and a certain self-aware confidence. They’ve been unabashedly streaking through Europe, and occasionally elsewhere, for over a decade—quite a streak.

But simply flashing us wouldn’t go very far if their talent weren’t shapely enough to trigger lust. Petra’s seductive soprano does a slinky pole-dance with each cover. They have a way of zooming in on the essentials, then fluffing them up to their full glory. Ferruccio’s handiwork on the bass will make you shudder. He lifts Petra high overhead, drives the rhythm, and lays down the harmonic flesh. Their mutual fertility dance grinds with vitality. Listen (you’ll need headphones with good bass response to fully appreciate)—

I Will Survive

Eleanor Rigby


Their eponymously titled first album is a good tease. Are the followups as voluptuous? Have they developed, grown, expanded, or are they vainly hoping to hang on to youth’s beauty? I won’t know until I pick up one of their recent releases. Has the recording quality improved, too? Not that this recording isn’t good, it passes, just barely. Has Petra’s voice matured? Has her phrasing become more finessed? Has Ferruccio’s aggressive technique gotten more ferocious? I’m looking forward to hearing what they’re doing today, eleven years later.

So, yea, I’m not raving, but I am ogling. There’s a heat here that I hope has gone from X to XXX. They’ve got my attention. Will they hold it and get me there?

(||) Rating — Music : A ║ Performance : A- ║ Recording : B- ║
 Musica Nuda, Musica Nuda, BHM Productions, 2004

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