Nic Polimeno

Album Title: 
The Giaconda Smile
Release Date: 
Friday, May 31, 2013
Review Type: 

Based in Milano, Niccolo Polimeno is a young (born late August 1991) Italian Blues guitarist for whom label Tanzan Music expresses itself in raving superlatives. In other words, the label people expect a lot from this artist's debut release.

Finding the instrument in a forgotten corner of the house, young Nic first picked up a guitar at the tender age of 8, and after several afternoons spent practicing, he was enrolled in music courses at the Civic School of Buccinaso. During the seven years of study, he not only learned to handle both acoustic and electric guitar, but also studied the use of his instrument in the genres of Blues, Rock, and Pop. Along the way, he also started playing in bands (his first performances were at the age of 12, with a Jazz repertoire) in a varied field of sub-genres, including Blues Rock (Main de Ghep, TakaBloo) and Funk Fusion (Zero Degree, Danaz Quartet). During Summer 2009, he attended the Berklee College Of Music clinics in Perugia, and returned home with a certificate of accomplishment in the Advanced Jazz Guitar course. During the next Summer, he participated to a charity project for earthquake victims (you'll remember the tragedy on Haiti?) and the children orphaned by such events...participating both as song arranger and musician in the video and the ensuing concert at Milano's Derby Theatre (organized to raise funds to adopt Haitian orphan children). Later, he created, wrote, arranged and produced the A Drop Of Splendor show, playing and singing with a band set up especially for the occasion, with young people coming onto the stage to sing to the music as a tribute to Fabrizio De André (If you've never heard about that guy...don't worry, neither have I, but apparently he must mean, or has meant, a great deal in Italy). To date, Niccolo continues his postgraduate studies in Jazz music (under maestro Bebo Ferra), and since 2009 he also became a music coach himself, teaching modern guitar, both acoustic and electric.

For his debut solo album, Nic returned to his Blues Rock roots, and with the aid of producer Marco Tansini (whom also plays the second guitar) an air of Pop was added without actually hurting he overall Blues feel. I'll have an interlude here to mention the album's other musicians, them being backing singer Amanda Tosoni, keyboardist Danilo Mazzone, bassist Andrea Caggiari, and drummer Riccardo Belletta. Obviously, Nic himself plays most lead guitar (he's apparently unselfish enough to have Tansini play some of those parts as well – or at least, that's what it sounds like at moments) and the lead vocals. And about that, it should be said that Nic has a very calm (and quite accent-less) vocal style overall (you'd swear he was raised in an English-speaking family), and obviously, that style puts a certain stamp on the feel of the music, which somehow resonates in the three instrumentals on the album (in a way, the album's title is well-found, as there's something here which is reminiscent of that soft and somewhat mystically melancholic smile). The one track not actually quite at home on the album, is the instrumental version of John Lennon's “I Want You”. Don't get me wrong, the version (and album closer) is quite completely Polimenised, but personally I feel Nic should've either made a special mention in the booklet, or used original music for his tenth track.

By all means, do not be led by my own personal feelings about this artist (I feel there's been plenty of guitarists in the genre with an equal playing quality, and somehow feel that, to truly enjoy him to the fullest, one should have to be able to see him perform on a stage), and check him out some. For samples of all of the album's tracks, either surf to the artist's own site (www.) (check “media” section), or his pages on outside sites : (www.), or (www.)