Charles Di Raimondo is probably best known for his work with Canada’s Three Tenors, but this versatile producer/composer/arranger continues to push himself as an artist. He began his solo career quite naturally with two albums that featured classical music – The Arias and Arias and Serenades – before branching off on 2005’s jazz release, Summer Rain. On his latest, Passione, Raimondo takes on a producing role, implementing some crossover sounds akin to Ill Divo or Josh Groban.
Passione’s best moments are when Raimondo stays on the classical side of his sound; especially when sung in Italian. Moments like “Bianca Spiagga”, “E Lucevan Le Stelle” and “Mamma (Nell’Eterna Melodia)” are absolutely stellar and best capture Raimondo’s outstanding tenor. My favourite song is the romantic Mediterranean vibe, “Aquella Noche En Madrid” – an easy listening jazz number that will set the mood just right for late nights.
As I mentioned, Raimondo mixes it up with a few pop influences, and to be honest, they really aren’t too bad. “When I’m Back On My Feet Again”, “Time To Say Goodbye” and Marc Anthony’s hit “My Baby You” are all overly dramatic (which, I realize is the point) but when put beside some of the other beautifully arranged classical songs, they end up sounding quite out-of-place for this listener. This seems to be the standard in the genre though, so while the sound may not always be hip, it is meant to be emotive and a driving force to that saving grace; Raimondo’s golden voice.
With the popularity of this genre rising, it was only time before a Canadian would step out from the shadows and with Passione, Raimondo is more than up to the challenge, he fits right in with the international stars. (Independent) ~ 4/5 Stars