Musical experimentation, Electro Swing vibe, vibraphone and vocals that are impossible to forget.
Review of Valerie Giglio’s album – “Midnight at the Speakeasy”
In a previous article in the Electro Swing News series (you can read it HERE), I mentioned that Valerie Giglio released a new album, ‘Midnight at the Speakeasy’, on the 27th of January. I absolutely couldn’t pass up this album because I love Valerie’s vocals (and in general, I love Valerie because she’s an incredibly warm, friendly and passionate person!) and I wish more people knew about her musical work.
Believe that among these seven tracks, everyone will discover their favourite song. I, at the end of this review, will reveal to you which of these tracks has stolen my heart. Are you curious to know what I think of ‘Midnight at the Speakeasy’? I encourage you to read my 75th (wow!) review for Electro Swing Thing!
It is well known that Valerie loves to experiment with different musical genres. On the album ‘Midnight at the Speakeasy’ you will not only hear Electro Swing, but also retro pop, jazz and even steampunk influences! I find her to be an incredibly inspiring woman (maybe one day I’ll interview her and then you’ll know why I think so). And also… if I’m not mistaken, she is the first person who decided to add the sound of the vibraphone to Electro Swing tunes (the virtuoso responsible for these magical sounds is Samuel Cerra – I’ll talk about him a bit later), which incredibly emphasises individuality and following one’s own musical path.
Listening to the album ‘Midnight at the Speakeasy’, I get the feeling that Valerie is taking us to different corners of her musical passions. I love the swing vibe of ‘Bootleg Baby’! This track will totally get you dancing – probably due to the fast, energetic rhythm and a lot of really big melodies coming from the wind instruments.
I also really like her interpretation of the hit ‘Bei Mir Bist Du Schön’. I hear a lot of piano sounds in it (and probably clarinet too!) and inspiration from her Christmas song ‘Hi De Ho Christmastime’ (which, by the way, I just love).
Once upon a time, I had a wonderful adventure. When I was a teenager, I got into a percussion class at music school. I played the snare drum and learnt to play the xylophone, but unfortunately, I became seriously ill and had to drop out of music school just before I finished my first year and… it was a few days before I started my first vibraphone lesson. Maybe that is why this instrument is so close to my heart. Every time I hear that crystal-clear sound, I am reminded of those beautiful times. Especially when the vibraphone is played by Samuel Cerra, who is simply an outstanding, complete artist. Fortunately, on the album ‘Midnight at the Speakeasy’, I get to savour these spellbinding sounds in as many as three tracks.
Do you know when the magic begins? When, while listening to the soft, subtle melodies coming from the piano, combined with Valerie’s warm vintage vocals, you suddenly reach the second minute or so of ‘Starlite Ballroom’. And there, for dessert, you get a brilliant, truly brilliant vibraphone solo with a little added percussion beat that makes me directly float a few metres above the clouds. But I’ll come back down to earth for a moment more to listen to ‘Sunset Boulevard’. Thanks to this song, the sun is starting to appear in this sky of mine. The sound of the trumpet warms me up, my heart starts to beat to the rhythm of the bass, Valerie’s vocals evoke hot summer evenings, and the sounds of Samuel Cerra’s vibraphone turn this euphoric state up even more!
Remember how I mentioned that Valerie included a single on her album inspired by, among other things, steampunk? I’m talking, of course, about ‘The Illusionist’, for which Samuel Cerra also recorded vibraphone parts. ‘Midnight at the Speakeasy’ also features other great tracks, such as ‘Rio’ (an Electro Swing version of Valerie’s song from 2020) and ‘Hollywood Version of Love’, which I very much associate with Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ and 80s pop.
If I wanted to describe all these songs in detail, this review would probably go on forever. I promised you that I would pick one favourite song from this album at the end. Unfortunately, I can’t do that. Because as many as three songs, namely “Starlite Ballroom”, “Sunset Boulevard” and “Bootleg Baby”, totally enchanted, delighted and captivated me. I am sure that you, my dear readers, will also discover the magic of the album “Midnight at the Speakeasy” and fall in love with Valerie Giglio’s music. I am very curious to see how her career will develop. One thing I am sure of: Valerie, with her creativity, incredible talent and heart for music, deserves the best. And that is what I wish for her.
Written & reviewed by LadyDot (Ja, Wizeruk) Date: 2023-02-20
Anna (LadyDot) was born in ’94, but always felt she came from the Golden Twenties. “Polka” in Polish means “girl from Poland”, so she’s “Polka in polka dots”. She loves vintage style and spontaneous travels around Europe. But her greatest love (apart from her husband) is of course music, especially Electro Swing.
On her own Blog www.jawizeruk.pl she writes about various music genres. She is a copywriter, so writing is her strong point. Anna likes singing (not only in the shower!) and cooking (especially Italian and Hungarian cuisine).