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Italo-Disco star Ken Laszlo is Coming to SoCal on Memorial Day Weekend 2013

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 15, 2013 08:43pm | Post a Comment
On 26 May, 2013 Italo-Disco star Ken Laszlo is coming to Orange County. On that date he and 

fellow Italo performer Fred Ventura will descend upon Avec Nightclub in Huntington Beach, thanks to Keep On Music. The event will be hosted by TQ and DJed by DJ BPM. Tickets are $20 in advance (from Bleu Nightclub in Westminster) or $25 at the door.

Ken Laszlo is the primary nom de guerre of singer Gianni Coraini. In European pop – especially Italian pop of the 1980s – it has long been the common practice to hire one or more singers to provide vocals for producer-driven music projects (often credited to imaginary performers with vaguely Anglo-sounding names) whose faces on album covers, videos, live performances, &c was usually that of a dancing and lipsynching model. Despite usually singing in English, most of these acts have found limited success in the Anglosphere (although there have been notable exceptions like the German Milli Vanilli and the Belgian Technotronic). Coraini has been a very prolific clandestini and sorting out which “singers” he’s been the voice of is rather time-consuming and hair-graying so please leave corrections and/or additions in the comments!


Gianni Coraini was born in 18 July, 1954 in Mantua (or Florence according to some accounts). As a child Coraini sang in his church choir. He also learned to play flute, keyboards, as well as saxophone and graduated from music school. When he was fifteen he began playing with a band in clubs and discos. It was the early 1970s and Coraini’s taste at the time apparently leaned toward progressive rock bands like Genesis and Jethro Tull as well as the art rock of David Bowie. When the ‘70s passed into the ‘80s, Coraini’s tastes grew to include Depeche Mode, Level 42, and Michael Jackson.




Coraini chose the stage name “Ken Laszlo” as a reference to the character “Victor Laszlo,” the Czech resistance leader from the film Casablanca. Though seemingly a cheeky reference to Coraini’s secret identity as anonymous vocalist, almost from the beginning Coraini would also be the face of Laszlo instead of relying on the services of a model. Lazlo’s musical backdrop was created by Gino Caria and Sandro Oliva. Caria was a prolific producer who worked for Time and later ABeatC (and other labels) who passed away in 1999. Oliva is a prolific writer, arranger and producer who set up Go Go’s Music with Alessandra Gatti in 2006 and continued, at least until recently, to work in the Italian music industry.





The debut Ken Laszlo single was 1984’s “Hey Hey Guy,” one of the earliest releases on Memory Records, which had been founded the previous year by Alessandro Zanni and Stefano Cundari. An early “live” performance featured model Ezio Zanassi (aka De Gama – who died in a car crash in 1987) miming the vocals but his role as Laszlo’s face quickly ended. The song was massively popular in much of Asia, Europe, and South America. Ken Laszlo wasn’t the only pseudonym that featured Coraini’s vocals that year. As Chris Lang he released “Disco Island” on Crash and as Jaco he released “Spanish Run” on Sensation.





The following year Ken Laszlo scored a Top 20 hit in The Netherlands and Sweden with “Tonight.” From that year (1987) on, he was also the uncredited vocalist behind Ricky Maltese’s singles (“All the Night,” “Warrior,” “Mama,” and “Rainy Day”). In 1986 he released, again as Ken Laszlo, “Don’t Cry,” which was a number thirteen hit in Sweden. In 1987, Laszlo released “1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8” and “Glasses Man.” His debut, the self-titled Ken Laszlo (1987-Memory), included remixes of the preceding singles as well as "Let Me Try," "Talkin,"


In 1988 he released “Red Man” b/w “Black Pearl” (the latter taken from the debut). Italo Disco’s golden age ended as the 1980s drew to a close and in the decade’s final year, Laszlo released “Everybody is Dancing,” and “Madame” b/w “Let Me Try” The latter single was one of Memory’s final releases and the Italo label ended its run within months of the single’s release. It was also the last of Laszlo’s collaborations with Caria and Oliva.


The next phase of Coraini’s career was dominated by singing uncredited vocals on a huge number of projects. After releasing “Hey Hey Guy For Tonight” as Laszlo & Innocence in 1989, Lazslo provided uncredited vocals for Mark Tower & Co. (1989-1990). In 1991 Coraini began collaborating with Giuliano Crivellente and Mauro Farina and sang on several of their projects – most prominently providing Danny Keith’s vocals from 1990-1995 (Keith’s vocals in the ‘80s had been sung by Farina). Coraini also leant uncredited vocals to Coy McCoy (1990), De Niro (1990), Max & Co. (1990), Malcolm J. Hill (1990-1992), Coo Coo (1990-1992), Angelo Maria Morales (1990), Body Power (1991), Moreno (1991), Mr. Beat (1991), Maltese (1991-1996), Dave Cole (1992), Michael Dream (1992), Nick Kaye (1992), Mike Freeman (1992-1995), DJ NRG (1992-1996), Jean Corraine (1992-1996), Ric Fellini (1993-1998), Tony B. Walters (1993-2004), Ken Hunter (1994-1995), Billy the Butcher (1996), Jean Mix (1996), Remy Panther (1996), Live Music Gang (1996), Gordon Jim (1996), Leit-Motiv (1996), Jungle Bill (1996-1998), Spencer (1996-1998), Lucky Boy (1997), Beat Unlimited (1997), Franz Tornado (1997), Jeff Driller (1997), Francis Cooper (1997-1998), Mr. Bean (1998), Alvin (1998), Tommie B (1998), Bibi (1998), Roby & Sara (1998), Asia Gang (1998), Mister Fly (1999), Jackie O’ (2000), Otello (2000-2008), Boys Band (2001), Max Ducati (2004), Captain America (2005-2008), The Falco (2008), Frog A’ Billy (2008), and Maxx Valentino (2008).

In 1995, Coraini again employed the Ken Laszlo name, recording a series of duets with Clara Moroni as Ken Laszlo duet with Jenny until 2003. In 1998 Coraini recorded and released Dr Ken & Mr Laszlo (S.A.I.F.A.M.), an album which compiled of previously-released material, re-recorded singles and cover versions. It wasn’t until 2007, twenty years after his debut, that Ken Laszlo released a proper sophomore release, Future Is Now (Azzura Music), the product of collaboration with a new group of musicians – specifically Alan Farrington, Carlo Cantini, and Fiorenzo Delegà.




I believe that the Memorial Day weekend concert will be both Laszlo’s and Ventura’s first live performances in California. Both will be performing several of their hits (including, in Laszlo’s case, “Hey Hey Guy,” “Tonight,” and “Don’t Cry,” “Glasses Man,” and “Mary Ann.”

See you there!

*****

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Italo-Disco star Fred Ventura is Coming to SoCal on Memorial Day Weekend 2013

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 8, 2013 01:33am | Post a Comment

26 May, 2013 Italo-Disco star Fred Ventura is coming to Orange County. He and fellow Italo performer Ken Laszlo will descend upon Avec Nightclub in Huntington Beach. The event will be hosted by TQ and DJed by DJ BPMTickets are $20 in advance(from Bleu Nightclub in Westminster) or $25 at the door. 

Fred Ventura was born Federico Di Bonaventura in MilanItaly on 16 July, 1962. He became interested in music when he was twelve. In 1978 or ‘79, Ventura joined An Incoherent Psyche on drums. In 1980 he joined another band, Le Jour Prochain. In 1981 he formed State of Art with bassist Stefano Tirone and guitarist Stefano Mazzola, both formerly of Der Blaue Reiter. The band proved to be short-lived although in February 1982 they recorded a song “Venice” which sounds a bit like the offspring of Joy Division and Chic (or in other words, a bit like A Certain Ratio).
 

State of Art




"Venice" was included on a compilation titled Gathered that was released by Italian magazine, Rockerilla. "Venice," along with several other studio and live recordings were compiled and released as Dancefloor Statements 1981-82 (2012-Spittle). In 2009, a new line-up formed, re-recorded several old tunes and a new one which they released as At Work (2012-Killed By Disco Records). Less than a year after their debut performance, Ventura left the band to embark on a solo career.

Armed with a Roland Juno-60 synthesizer and an Oberheim DX drum machine (both then new to the market) Ventura pursued a dancier direction inspired by Hi-NRG pioneers Bobby O and Patrick Cowley, Neue Deutsche Welle act D.A.F., French singer Étienne Daho, disco producer Giorgio Moroder, and electro acts like Kraftwerk, The Human League, and New Order.





Ventura’s new direction brought him into contact with Roberto Turatti from DiscoMagic in 1983. Along with composer Miki Chieregato, the three formed Flexx and released the epic “Love Theme From Flexxy-Ball (You'll Never Change No More)” and “Theme from Deep.”



Inspired by Austrian singer Falco’s recent success with “Der Kommissar,” Ventura released his solo debut, the German (and English) language “Zeit” b/w “Hollywood Party,” in 1984. Ventura's final collaboration with Chieregato and Turatti was 1985’s “The Years (Go By)” b/w “Streets (All Right).” After that, Chieregato and Turatti began formulating and focusing their energy on their Den Harrow project, which didn’t involve Ventura.

Ventura moved to Time Records, brought there by Giuliano Crivellente of the established Italo production duo Mauro Farina and Giuliano Crivellente. Ventura has been open about finding his creativity stifled by Farina and Crivellente’s perceived commercialism although he did score several hits during his relationship with them.






In 1986, he released “Leave Me Alone” and “Wind of Change.” In 1987 he released “Imagine (You'll Never Change Your Mind)” and “Night And Day” b/w “Jour Aprés Jour.” In 1988 he Fred Ventura East & Westreleased “Lost in Paris” and “Heartbeat” b/w “Housebeat.” Finally, in 1989 he released his solo full-length, East & West (1989-Time Records) which included most of his previous singles for Time as well as new singles “It’s My Time,” and “One Day” as well as album tracks “Never Too Late,” “No More Lies,” and “Late Night Train.”

After the 1980s ended, most Italo veterans attempted to soldier on by jumping on the commercial (and often grating) Eurodance/Euro-NRG bandwagon, Ventura began producing House music. He collaborated with various musicians under a variety of names including Active, Grey Area, Red Mecca, Visions Factory, Beat 4 Life, Love Nation, Vibrazioni Productions, Bedroom Rockers, and Electrique. He also went on to work as a label manager at Evolution Records, Free Zone Records, and Milano 2000 Records. More recently he’s contributed vocals to several Clone Records acts, including I-f, Alden Tyrell, and Jupiter Black.




I believe that the Memorial Day weekend concert will be both Ventura’s and Laszlo’s first performances in California. Both will be performing several of their hits (including, in Ventura’s case, his Time-era singles “Love Theme From Flexxy-Ball (You'll Never Change No More),” “Wind of Change,” and “The Years (Go By),” as well as new single, “Don’t Stop.”

See you there!
 

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