Monday Notes

Lelio Luttazzi, Mi piace. Jazz the Italian way

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[Monday’s Notes no. 149] Mi piace is a song that Lelio Luttazzi wrote in 1962, tailor-made for the singer Jula de Palma, whom he discovered and launched to international success. The song is very refined and is clearly inspired by the American repertoire. I have tried to analyse it, to reveal the secret of its beauty.

Lelio Luttazzi was a jazz pianist, composer, TV show host, RAI orchestra conductor and record producer. A multifaceted and charismatic artist with an adventurous life. From his dramatic event, his imprisonment for a charge that later turned out to be unfounded, Alberto Sordi took inspiration for his film ‘Detenuto in attesa di giudizio’.

Mi Piace is a classic jazz ballad, the harmony partly reminiscent of Roberto Menescal‘s O Barquinho, a great bossanova classic. Indeed, we observe that the chords descend chromatically, touching all the degrees of the chromatic scale between the tonic C and the dominant G.

Just as in the great American classics, the melody touches interesting notes. It starts on the seventh of Cmaj7, then touches the seventh on Bbmaj7. At measure 14, where the text reads “Mi piace pensare“, the melody has an upward shift, starts on G, 9th of the Fm7 chord, and with an arpeggio reaches G an octave above, on the 13th of the Bb7 chord.

Jula De Palma, mi piaci, strofa
The first part of “Mi piaci”

The relationship of the melody to the harmony is thus very sophisticated, and overall the piece has nothing to envy from many American jazz classics. In the coda of the piece, Lelio Luttazzi employs a well-known cadence, Tadd Dameron’s turn around, playing in sequence the chords Ebmaj7, Abmaj7, Dbmaj7, before resolving on the tonic Cmaj7.

Lelio Luttazzi e Jula de Palma, mi piaci
The coda of “Mi piaci”

The only flaw in the song, a lyric that is perhaps a little predictable, not at all original. But we hardly notice it, also thanks to the performance of the young Jula de Palma, stage name of the very Italian Jolanda Maria Palma.

Mi piace is a beautiful jazz ballad and adds to the list of great Italian standards composed by Carlo Alberto Rossi, Bruno Martino, Luigi Tenco, among others. Authors capable of making jazz music their own and creating an original style. Just like Lelio Luttazzi.

Until next Monday!

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