the unknown side of what's bumpin' in the trucks

Gino Vannelli, not Milli Vanilli…

In posse on 2006/12/09 at 10:44 pm

When I first got into making beats back in 1991, it wasn’t uncommon to frequently come across Gino Vannelli records when diggin for breaks and sample-ready material. Relegated to the dollar bins, you would sometimes find Gino’s entire discography sitting pretty beside Klaus Wunderlich and Roger Whittaker albums, quietly left behind. Now, I’m here to say that although Gino Vannelli is a Canadian guy, and a proud Italian man from Montreal, he regularly gets a raw deal when it comes to respect for his musical contributions. Originally a drummer, Gino and his brother Joe had a few bands before Gino decided to take the helm with his powerfully nasal, and what I’ll call unique voice. As early subscribers to the synthesizer revolution, Gino and Joe were signed to Herb Albert’s A&M Records in 1973, releasing albums that ventured heavily into jazz/rock/fusion territory. I’ve always pointed to Gino’s records as a good place to start if you’re just getting into sampling, being as the records are cheap, readily available and chock full of nuts. Big drums, crazy synths, percussion breaks, and plenty of open rhodes, can be found on virtually every Gino Vannelli record from 1973-1978, and that’s no joke. Kanye West has flipped a predictably bullshit sample job of Gino’s 1978 Grammy nominated hit “I Just Wanna Stop” on the song “We Don’t Care” from The College Droput LP, but for the most part, Gino’s vast array of useable bits have flown under the radar. So, don’t be turned off by Gino’s 5 inch hair-doo, or his always visble chest-hair, because if you listen, you should be plesantly surprised. Here’s a few joints if you still don’t believe.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

  1. Hey, Gino hasn’t had big hair since 1984 or so !!!
    He’s still sounding good, too.

  2. Yes, yes, “Crazy Life” is a gold mine. After finally grabbing a copy my 1st year here (there’s at one in every thrift store/pawn shop/garage sale in Montreal) it’s what got me over the block I had against GV since seeing him turn into a werewolf on SCTV. And the shitty 80’s crap. If you ever get a chance to see his set from the jazz fest a couple years back on the tube, check it out, it’ll surprise you.

  3. Living Inside Myself was one of Gino’s two major hits. Both were power ballads. He followed up with the title track of his then current album, Nightwalker. Nighwalker was very different — a dark jazz, loud and hard rocking tune. It made #28 on the Pop Top 30.

    Years later, I found the 33 inch LP exactly where you said — in the cheap bins. I finally got to hear Nightwalker again, and the rests of the album. Six great jazz/rock tunes and two heavy ballads. I still play it sometimes. There’s nothing like it.

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