RESPECTING THE #LEGENDS
In many ways #LEGENDS (DulceTone Recordings) has been in the works since 1993. That’s when a fresh-faced, eager young Christian Josi first rolled into the famous NOLA Studios on West 57th Street.
It was the wonderful pianist Tony Monte who wrote the charts and brought him in, with his fellow veteran pros Jerry Bruno on bass, Joe Cocuzzo on the drums and the great Bucky Pizzarelli (who, now at 89 years old, kills it on #LEGENDS) on the guitar.
For a 23 year old young man brand new to the city and the scene, the folks in the studio that day thought the kid showed some promise – he had a voice, time, pitch and that essential ingredient that eludes so many modern-day vocalists: he could swing. He also understood what kind of company he was in with Tony, Jerry, Joe (RIP) and Bucky. He revered them. He studied and learned from them. Not a lot of modern-day vocalists have that kind of instinctive, respectful reverence. More often, they plainly kiss ass or they treat the cats like cattle, so to speak. This trait is not a small matter, and it that says a lot about him as a person and as a musician. It makes serious musicians appreciate him, want to work with him, and work hard for him.
Shortly after those 1993 sessions, Christian was off to England— with the aforementioned Monte and sax-God Harry Allen in tow -- to work with the late Jim Campbell to make what critics seemed to find a pretty solid debut album on Campbell’s MasterMix label. Long story short, the record comes out, tour begins, and one day, he just…bails. Back to NYC. Home.
“You have to understand,” he recalls, “things happened so quickly, and I was utterly unprepared for it all.” And then, he goes on in the way that he does; “I missed my then-wife and baby daughter, and to make any money, I was going to have to sell a lot more records than I was going to be selling anytime soon. So I was like…hmm. No money. Can’t hang with the chicks. What’s the point? I’m going home. Not to mention, I didn’t like the record no matter how many people told me it was good.”
In the years since his musical exodus, he’s dabbled from time to time, and he even released those tracks he made back in 1993 on his 2004 record “Alive & Swingin” – a thrown-together mix of old and newer tracks. But the efforts were, as he says, “somewhat half-hearted and done more because people talked me into it than because I really wanted to do it.”
Fast forward to 2014, and the icy relationship between the older and wiser man and his music begins to thaw. “I’m living in DC and I have this friend Bill Pascoe who is well-known as a political operative, but not as well-known for the fact that he is a serious, passionate aficionado of music. I. Mean. Serious. Bill and I are having breakfast one morning and he offers to finance a recording project. So I’m like ‘oh, yeah, let’s’…thinking he was either bullshitting or insane. In any event, I had no intention of taking his money.”
“But he kept raising it, and finally one day I say: ‘Bill, I have made rushed, underfunded, lackluster records for 20-plus years. If I do this again, it’s going to have to be world-class, Grammy-level shit. I would insist on working with the greatest talent in the business—LEGENDS -- to make the record I have been trying to make for my entire life. It will cost a fortune, I will be difficult, and you just don’t want any of this…”
“And without blinking, he says “make a plan, gimme a budget.” So I did. And with that, Bill and Jeff (Davis) hatched DulceTone Recordings and here we are. With one hell of a product and an orchestra filled with my heroes. Even the photographer and art director—Christopher Makos—is a legend and a hero of mine. It’s surreal!”
Now at 46, Christian has lived the kind of ups and downs both personally and professionally that test character and build strength. As a result he has of course matured and that is reflected in every aspect of his performance here.
With #LEGENDS, he’s made that elusive record he’s been wanting to make for decades. Give it a listen!
#LEGENDS was released globally on September 8th, and is available for digital download and in CD format. It features the likes of Freddy Cole, Antonia Bennett, Harry Allen, Mike Renzi, Warren Vache, and a host of ‘first-call’ living legends. For more info, including where to buy, visit www.dulcetonerecordings.com or www.facebook.com/dtonerecordings