FEW make magical music from an acoustic guitar like Antonio Forcione does. Whether it’s Flamenco or quirky interpretations of songs made famous by the likes of The Beatles, The Police or Stevie Wonder, Forcione is guaranteed to deliver quite spectacularly. Born to perform and born to play guitar – with a little percussion (courtesy of his guitar, of course) thrown in for good measure. Quite mesmerising to watch and all rather appealing on the ear.
In his last gigs before a well-earned Christmas break, Forcione showed an appreciative audience at Pizza Express Jazz Club Soho in London why his star remains firmly in the ascendancy. Playing the first of a three night slot at the underground venue (the first of five performances but the only one solo) his show lived up to its ‘Motown & Magic’ label, although it was more the latter than the former.
Although he paid due homage to the music of Stevie Wonder (I Wish and Superstition) and Marvin Gaye (I Heard It Through The Grapevine), this was a night where he also showcased some of his own defining music. The likes of Tears Of Joy (a beautiful Flamenco-tinged piece acknowledging the joyous presence of a daughter in his life), Diary, Heart Beat and Touchwood (rapturously received and emphasising the importance of percussion in Forcione’s music).
Also, a marvellous Madiba’s Jive (homage to the late great and masterful Nelson Mandela) and African Dawn. All topped off with a haunting Alhambra that sent shivers down spines – for five ecstatic minutes, transported from bustling London to enchanting Granada.
With a clever interpretation of The Police’s Message In A Bottle (played using the rhythm of Roxanne), an opening salvo of The Beatles’ hit Come Together, and a tribute to composer Henry Mancini (Cool Cat), there was something for everyone.
Forcione performs at Pizza Express Jazz Club Soho on Thursday and Friday (December 5 and 6) as part of the Antonio Forcione Quintet. Joining them on stage is the thrilling vocalist Marta Capponi. Enjoyment guaranteed. Pre-Christmas fun – and if you’re lucky a mind trip to Granada and back via Forcione’s magical guitar.