Robi Zonca and his band
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Robi Zonca and his band

Band Blues Singer/Songwriter


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"You already know (blues revue)"

"You Already Know; a self-release by Robi Zonca and his band, represents the Italian blues scene. If contemporary hooks are common- in "Sexy Lady" the countryish "I'm a Lucky Man" or the unabashedly pop-oriented "All I Want"- the blues is never too far from the surface. Solid shuffles like " A little bit: (not Rosco Gordon's number) and "GB Shuffle" the Hendrixian "Nobody But," and the updated Delta "My Friend" are solid examples. Even better, dig the R&B groover "Nothing" and a pair of ballads: "I Will Love You Anyway," slightly bombastic but still effective, and "You Already Know That My Baby She's Gone" in which Zonca lays electric lines inspired by Tampa Red over 1920's style jazz/blues. Nice harmonies and great touch by all in the band."
- Blues Revue

"Do you know (real blues)"

More proof that Blues is an international language. One can really get a sense of how powerful American cultural influences are by the number of blues acts in Europe (and elsewhere) who send in discs hoping for a review. Italy has quite an active blues scene and a lengthy history and their blues festival activity is tops outside of the U.S.. More U.S. blues acts work in Italy than any other European nation so it¹s no wonder we probably get more Italian blues act CDs than from any other nation. Most are very good and Robi Zonca's no exception.
While he stretches the boundaries of Blues/Rock more than most, Zonca's blues/rock offerings are first class. No traditional blues tunes here other than "20 Bars Blues", the songs are all original (except "Spinning Wheel") and execution, performance and arrangements are all very professional; too good for an indie production. Zonca's guitar playing is tasteful and flawless - I'm under the impression he's been playing for well over 20 years (?) and this is an exceptionally tight band he fronts. I'm not sure of the state of the recording industry in Italy but a band this tight wouldn't be without a label contract in North America. Drummer Marco Sacchitella and bassist Paolo Legramandi are standouts.
Blues fans may recognize the hot guest guitarist on "20 Bars Blues..." it's Enrico Crivellaro! Man, he's everywhere these days, and Zonca and Crivellaro really give listeners their money's worth as they lay down some superb guitar. Title cut "Do You Know?" is a funky number that really grabs you and it's more proof as to tightness. "TV Liar" is a tune that has commercial potential in a big way given everyone's feelings with 'smoke-and-mirrors" these days. Nice rock n'roll guitar too, the kind you don't hear enough of anymore. If you're a blues fan who loves good rock as well, you'll definitely want to check out this CD. Universal stuff, folks, from Robi Zonca and his hot band. I'm predicting that they get signed up by someone soon. Too much talent (it does count!) for them not to be major league successful. 4 bottles of chianti for a disc with plenty of spirit and talent. It's honest rock 'n blues.

A Grigg
- Real Blues

"Do you know? ( Blues box)"

Robi Zonca, bühnenerfahrener Gitarrist und Sänger aus Norditalien, stellt mit "DO YOU KNOW?" sein Erstlingswerk unter eigenem Namen vor. Zonca hat in Dutzenden von Bands in Europa und den USA während seiner langjährigen Karriere gespielt, so z.B. mit Ginger Baker (Ex-Cream), Cooper Terry, Billy Gregory, Andy J. Forest oder der Treves Blues Band.
Auf mehreren Alben u.a. von Andy J. Forest und der Treves Blues Band ist er an Bass, Gitarre und als Sänger zu hören.

"DO YOU KNOW?" spannt einen weiten Bogen von Rock bis zu Blues, von Jazz bis Reggae, klingt gut und sorgfältig produziert. Mit Ausnahme des spannend gespielten Mega-Covers "Spinning wheel" von Blood, Sweat & Tears sind alle Songs von Zonca selbst arrangiert und komponiert.

Bei allen auf dieser CD vertretenen Genres werden Rockfans am ehesten bevorzugt , allerdings gibt es für Bluesfreunde einen Leckerbissen mit dem "20 bars Blues", einem Instrumental im Booker-T-Style, bei dem nacheinander die drei Gitarreros Enrico Crivallero, Claudio Bazzaro und Tolo Morton solistisch beeindrucken können. Weitere stilistische Abwechslung gibt es mit dem bluesig-funkigen Titelstück "DO YOU KNOW?" und dem etwas country-sentimentalen "My baby, she's gone". Ein an Steve Wonder erinnerndes, auf der chromatischen Harp (Alberto Borsari) wunderschön gespieltes Solo in dem Reggae-Instrumental "Podemos salucionarlo" bildet gleichzeitig den Abschluss des Stückes und der Scheibe und lässt ein garantiertes Urlaubsfeeling aufkommen.
- Blues box Germany

"Blue Ears' Radio"

Dear Robi, you asked me for a comment on your CD - on purpose I waited for some time - to have the time to hear the tracks in between all the other tracks on "Blue Ears" radio. Now after two months, I honestly can say: congratulations with a masterpiece of an album.
I hate reviews. I suggest readers NEVER to believe them but to use their own ears. So, my suggestion is: dear reader, hear for yourself the tightness and freshness of this band (even after playing it a 100 times - it becomes better and better). The love for music and the right musicianship is so deeply rooted in this band that I can only say: get yourself a copy of this jewel.
It's a shame this record isn't rocketing in sales worldwide until now: the story of the blues. But who're there to change things! - Hans Van Achterberg

"Magic Box (NYjazz & blues)"

The story goes that Robi Zonca was in New Orleans promoting You Already Know, his most recent CD, when he walked by a Bourbon Street Club and a thunderous voice lured him through the doorway. “I spent all night listening to one of the greatest blues singers I ever met,” recalls Zonca. The voice, of course, belonged to Big Luther Kent and the evening ended with Zonca’s invitation to the New Orleans native to perform with him and his band on a two-week tour of Italy a few days after Mardi Gras in 2006. The results of the tour can be heard on Magic Box, recorded on the final night in Zonca’s home town of Bergamo.
It might seem surprising that Zonca was unfamiliar with Kent. But Big Luther is one of those vast talents and unsung heroes who have slipped under the radar of American popular music. Kent’s career began early enough as he and his band crisscrossed America in the early 1970s before he accepted a more than two-year gig as replacement for David Clayton-Thomas in Blood, Sweat & Tears, with whom Kent could not record because of contractual restrictions. In 1977, Kent released his first solo album, the still popular World Class. Several albums and many performances later Kent was inducted into the Louisiana Blues Hall of Fame in 2000. In the years prior to Katrina, Kent held residencies in several NOLA clubs, touring infrequently as his audience came to him, which, in part, explains his limited exposure.
On his second CD, You Already Know, Robi Zonca proclaims “when I play the blues, that’s when I realize I’m so lucky.” And play the blues he can. On Magic Box and his two previous CDs, Zonca’s guitar takes surprising twists and turns swerving away from potholes of clichéd blues lines. He has rightly found an appreciative audience in America, where he has become that rare Italian and continental blues artist to receive airplay on American blues and jazz radio.
Magic Box opens with four originals from Zonca, three numbers from You Already Know and “New York City Blues.” Especially notable are “Nothing,” a funky ballad with a couple of Zonca’s razor-edged solos, and “I Will Love You Anyway,” a slow soulful number with a more rounded, soaring solo. While Zonca’s vocals are certainly capable on the latter, it seems a song designed for Big Luther. Perhaps the pair missed an opportunity here.
Kent joins Zonca for the remaining nine songs on the CD, opening with Big Joe Turner’s “Flip, Flop and Fly,” the wonderfully reckless barrelhouse rocker that immediately makes clear that the Zonca-Kent connection is about to groove full steam ahead. Kent’s deep husky baritone, which could only have originated in New Orleans, is in fine form throughout Magic Box. His is a voice of raw power, but his authority comes from his ability to tap into a song’s emotional content and to perform it with great clarity and expressiveness. He is indeed one of America’s best storytellers in song.
On Magic Box, with the able support of the Robi Zonca band, Kent groans, begs, howls, laughs, and boasts his way through blues and NOLA classics, transforming into the persona of each song. On “Teeny Weeny Bit,” Kent pleads, cajoles, and stammers in desperation for a little bit of his woman’s love, and in “99 Women,” perhaps the set’s highlight, he wails for true love, with the singer’s emotion beautifully echoed in the guitar fills of Zonca and in the plaintive slide guitar of Stefano Galli; all anchored by the mournful bass of Paolo Legramandi and the sturdy rhythm of Marco Sacchitella.
On “Hoochie Coochie Man,” Kent is at his earthy braggadocio best. Willie Dixon could not have hoped for more! Here, Zonca’s solos, especially the first one, cut with sturdy rawness. In “Nothing You Can Do,” Kent pays tribute to Bobby Blue Bland, one of his early influences. This time Zonca’s solo effectively sputters and then soars.
Like every Kent set, Magic Box features generous portions of New Orleans funk with songs like “Sick and Tired,” Freddy King’s “Big Legged Woman,” and the classic “Pockey Way,” in which Big Luther acting as a Mardi Gras chief, puts us all on the second line of a NOLA street parade. Even in Italy, Big Luther resonates with the spirit of New Orleans.
If I have one minor quibble with Magic Box it is with the sequencing of the tracks, which might have worked well enough on stage but loses something in the transition to CD. I think it would have been more effective to sequence Kent after Zonca’s first cut, “New York City Blues,” and then place the remaining Zonca tracks in between Kent’s performances. As it stands, the CD takes too long to get to Kent.
Most importantly, however, Magic Box, a CD absolutely worth owning, captures the dynamic collaboration of one of America’s most commanding stage presences and perhaps Italy’s finest blues guitarist, one not well enough known in America – yet. Let’s hope this isn’t the end of their work together. - New York blues and jazz society

"Warrington concert rewiew"

Review: The Robi Zonca Band at the Warrington RnB Club - 26 Oct 2007
Published by
Monday 29 October 2007 in Reviews.
This wasn’t Italian singer/guitarist Robi Zonca’s first visit to Warrington. His first appearance, together with fellow guitarist, Stefano Galli, was as an acoustic support act to Memo Gonzalez in 2006. Such was their impact then that they were invited back to the club with their full band. The line-up on this occasion was completed by a top notch rhythm section.
The vast majority of the numbers performed comprised original material, starting with the medium-paced shuffle “New York City Blues” and the upbeat and funky “Nothing”, with Robi on husky vocals and lead guitar. On the country ballad, “My Baby She’s Gone”, and the lively boogie, “Just A Little Bit”, Stefano Galli took over lead guitar duties, offering a gentler alternative to Zonca’s spiky approach. “Hey Man”, a bluesy ballad written jointly by the two guitarists, led into the first cover of the evening – a bouncy rockabilly treatment of “Got My Mojo Working”. The lively rocker, “Night Time” featured some lovely interplay between Robi and Stefano and some tasty phrasing from the engine room. The first set was completed with the slow and funky “Never Lie”, complete with a splendid guitar solo from Zonca.
The second set opened with “Rebel”, another brilliantly performed funky blues and the title track of the band’s latest album. There followed a wonderful miscellany of blues-oriented, if not strictly blues, numbers. There was a terrific version of Stevie Winwood’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” and a rousing, original instrumental, “Brown Panther”, on which both guitarists excelled and the rhythm section was impressively tight. After “Kansas City”, there was a fine delivery of Cream’s Brit rock classic, “Sunshine Of Your Love” and the subsequent number in similar vein was concluded with a diversion into The Who’s “My Generation”. A final shuffle, by way of an encore, brought the excellent show to an end.
Apart from the high standard of the lead vocals and instrumental artistry, special mention must be made of the superior quality of the backing harmonies provided by Stefano Galli and the drummer – far higher than the average. On the downside, following the two encouragingly large attendances at the two previous gigs at Warrington, the small turnout was particularly disappointing. However, when news of the band’s highly entertaining performance spreads, it is very likely that a return visit would attract a considerably fuller house. It would certainly be merited.
Lionel Ross
- UK media mag


DO YOU KNOW? (2003)
aired by more than 100 radio stations in the USA
Blues De Luxe, BBC Wales, WFDU and many more
top 33 KYNR. Still featured in editor picks at CDBaby

WFDU,BBC Wales, Midnight Special Blues, WBOR, WHUS and many more

MAGIC BOX (2006) with Big Luther Kent
WFDU, Blues De Luxe, top 25 WBOR, BBC, RAI1, KMSU, KMSK and many more

REBEL! (2007)
hit N1 CDBaby editor picks in Blues English style
N1 WHUS top 25, top 25 Real Blues



Robi has been playing the blues since he was twelve years old. He plays bass guitar and sings (lead and backup) and is a published song writer/composer. He has worked with dozens of bands during his career. Just to name a few: Ginger Baker, Enrico Crivellaro, Mia Martini, Fabio Treves, Roberto Ciotti, Ronnie Jones, Cooper Terry, Billy Gregory, Tao Ravao, Claudio Bazzari, James Thompson (sax with the pop star Zucchero) Aida Cooper, Antonello Aguzzi, Andy J Forest (the latter recorded five CDs with Robi). Between concerts, clubs, recordings and television appaerances, he has performed in every far corner of Italy, Europe and in the USA where he was a featured guest singer with the Treves Blues Band at the Memphis in May festival in Memphis, Tennessee. On that occasion, the concert had been recorded and features Robi singing Ray Charles' classic 'Halleluiah I Love Her So'. Now, after about 25 years playing as a sideman or guest with other bands, Robi Zonca has finally decided to form his own touring band which is currently on the road thrilling audiences, amazing friends and baffling the competition. His 2003 debut CD “DO YOU KNOW?” recieved airplay by more than 250 radio stations in the U.S.A. and the same in Europe where many more radio stations in Italy, U.K.(BBC too!) France, Holland, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Poland and more countries, are playing songs from Robi’s album.
In may 2005 the band has published his new album: “YOU ALREADY KNOW” that in some days has recieved airplay by the BBC and other stations all around the world.
On summer 2005 Robi has been called in New York City to play at “Summer Breeze Festival” and for radio interviews in NY and in Los Angeles. During this trip Robi met the great New Orleans blues singer Big Luther Kent and they realized togheter the live album "MAGIC BOX" that also recieved airplay and good reviews.
Now ( 2007) the new album "REBEL!" is ready recorded in New York with the help of some great USA musicians like Bernard"Pretty"Purdie and the Vivino Brothers