Matt Bianco Featuring Basia

As with Pink Floyd, don't ask which member of this smooth/Latin jazz combo is Mr. Bianco, for the man doesn't exist. The moniker refers to an imaginary superspy concocted by the group, which has just reunited three quarters of its original lineup for the first time in 20 years on a new record, Matt's Mood. Singers Mark Reilly and Basia Trzetrzelewska and keyboardist Danny White last worked together in 1984 on their debut, Whose Side Are You On? Basia then went on to a hugely successful solo career ("Promises," "New Day for You"), taking White with her and helping to pioneer modern lite jazz with her immediately recognizable Astrud Gilberto-inflected voice, while Reilly continued to record with groups under the MB name. Matt's Mood features a number of solid Latin/bossa nova-hued numbers like "Ordinary Day" and "Golden Days," not to mention martini-sippers such as "Kaleidoscope" and "Ronnie's Samba." While the music is pleasant enough, the lyrics rarely stray from stale platitudes. But even so, Basia's breathy voice mixed with Reilly's fatter pop sound is a good combination. What's more, much of the record has a light, breezy feel reminiscent of '60s jazz-pop -- not the insipid "smooth jazz" of today.
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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero