Italy’s soul and jazz sensation Mario Biondi is back after releasing his latest album earlier this year with a brand new single, a cover of the Commodores classic Nightshift.
Hot on the heels of his most recent album release, the excellent and diverse Beyond, Italy’s Mario Biondi has dropped, rather quietly, a new single in which he covers the Commodores classic hit, ‘Nightshift’. Biondi first drew international acclaim with his 2006 release Handful of Soul, and in the UK he had much success with his 2013 album Sun, which saw him team up with soul legend Leon Ware, and Brit-Funk icon Bluey from Incognito; he even performed a special one-off date in support of the album at the Royal Albert Hall backed by Incognito. Indeed, it is Incognito and Bluey that introduced Biondi to a wider audience here in the UK, when he was featured on Incognito’s excellent Transatlantic RPM album on their version of the Boz Scaggs tune ‘Lowdown’ with none other than Chaka Khan.
Since then, and with the success of ‘Shine On’, the lead single of off Sun, Biondi has become a firm favourite among soul and jazz fans. In a way he is the Italian answer to Barry White, which his deep, rich voice. And that voice is once again it to good use on his cover of ‘Nightshift’. There is always much debate over whether to cover a song or not: some will always argue that the original is always best. Of course those people ignore the fact that some soul classics are actually covers: Aretha Franklin, for instance, covered Otis Redding’s ‘Respect’, as well as Dionne Warwick’s ‘I Say A Little Prayer’; Otis Redding, meanwhile, did a rather nice version of The Temptations’ ‘My Girl’. That said, the best covers tend to re-interpret rather than regurgitate. Biondi on his version of ‘Nightshift’ treads a line between the two: while sticking to the general formula laid down by the Commodores (minus Lionel Richie) in 1985, but with his trademark vocal flourishes and a slightly faster tempo.
But why has Biondi chosen to cover this classic? Well, on November 20th he is set to release the ‘Deluxe’ version of his new album Beyond which will feature more Commodore classics, including ballads ‘Three Times A Lady‘, ‘Easy‘, ‘Brick House‘ and one of our personal favourites, ‘Lady (You Bring Me Up)’.
Let us know your thoughts of Mario Biondi’s new single below! The single can be purchased on iTunes or streamed below on Spotify.