Lele Cerri – Mina and Orchestra exclusively at Compass 1972

By Lele Cerri

Mina, in the spring and summer of 1972, gives us an extraordinary repetition of an exceptional daily routine of TV and live appearances. She almost seems to want to recast us in advance of her future absence from the scene, still unknown to her as much as to us.

From March of that year, he began to join us punctually on a weekly basis. How then, later on, we can only wish for it. It does so with the 8 episodes of Theater 10, dense with its continuous growths, continuous surprises from week to week. Eight episodes, in one of which, among other things, he opens wide the doors of Italy to an Astor Piazzolla still not well known to us, making him his sublime accomplice in the exploration of a majestic tango “Balada para mi muerte.” And here we are, at last, at the tight schedule, the flurry of exclusive evenings at the Compass of “Mina and the Orchestra,” a formula she herself coined as a counter-proposal to the one originally conceived by Sergio Bernardini “Mina and her Orchestra.” An idea and an exclusive that, strengthened by the power of the only Italian artist capable of holding a big band with rhythm and wind sections formed by dozens of the most important jazz musicians on the Italian music scene, catapult Versilia into the magic and musical richness of the nights of Las Vegas and Los Angeles, London and New York. “Mina and the Orchestra” is the “Event” formula of that summer of ’72 and an absolute event in the history of Italian pop music. Not only because of the formula itself but because of the quality of the result: unthinkable before and still unthinkable to be repeated, if not by her, with her.
From that extraordinary gift of Mina to her audience, thankfully repeated in 1978 with concerts at Bussoladomani, a live recording was made from those flagship evenings of Italian music, from which an LP and a video were made. The video, which was released on cassette and in a valuable laser disc version, now a collector’s item, was later re-released on DVD.

It is the document of an extraordinary summer for Mina’s audience, for Mina and for Italian music. A summer of dates, as dense as it was unthinkable to hope for, coming after those eight Saturday and Sunday evenings of Theater 10. In those eight episodes, as in a plantation of surprises surpassed only, two years later, in 1974, by Milleluci, the last televised musical colossal and Mina’s last television appearance before becoming a myth of absence and a pure vocal entity, the duets flourished that would culminate in the appointment that has always been most awaited, wanted, almost demanded: the one that, for the public, testifies to the symbiosis, if not actually the osmosis, between Suoi Mina and Lucio Battisti. Mina, in that Roman spring, having finished rehearsing and filming for Teatro 10, reaches a recording room in the evening where she finds what would become “the Orchestra” lined up. An Orchestra of his own as no one else’s could be, which will accompany him on dates at the Compass. These are evenings of rehearsals late into the night, with a Mina, as always, at the rehearsal, amused, relaxed, radiant, rejoicing in the evolution of the orchestral trend, in the consolidation of Gianni Ferrio’s harmonizations, those “I recommend, Gianni, go down hard, give me hell underneath, go hard…” that she feels forming, growing, developing, unrolling in that musical carpet on which, throughout that summer, she will take us where only she will and can take us. An endless number of evenings of oceanic crowds in a venue overflowing with enthusiasts whose insatiable appetite is made even more insatiable by the atmosphere that Mina recreates, renews, magnifies, and redesigns each evening. A mitre of memorable nights. Mina and twenty musicians; who as claimed by Mina, and promised and kept by Gianni Ferrio, raise hell under her, throw around her harmonies as loud and dazzling as flames, trumpets in spiked high notes that, like dragons with dilated and smoldering nostrils, engage in contests with her voice. Everything possible because she is there. Mina is over the moon. And you can feel it. After that, the records, the albums in which Mina will bring her to us every year will bring us a quantity of songs with her always brilliant, full of ideas in each one. Mina will still grow, will continue to grow beyond all expectations, and will range across genres to the latest surprises, with her ability to tackle motifs, making each one its own masterpiece. He will become, as we now know, our Hermitage of song.
But in the meantime, in that summer of 1972, the girl who revolutionized, by tugging at it and then caressing it, the Italian song, the woman, the great voice symbolizing some of the most garibaldian, courageous, luminous and happy aspects of Italian custom is still there, perfectly attainable, almost every night, on the stage of the Bussola.
It happens to meet, around Italy, those who were able to experience those evenings, even once, even one of those evenings. And it is timely to hear them say, “Well, you had to be there.”

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They say about her

11 November 2023


Giorgio Bocca – The jukebox is too tight for Mina – ll Giorno 11.12.1960

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