Naples born, but London based singer-songwriter Leo Pesci returns with a new EP, Community, blacked by London Jazz heavyweights Johnny Woodham (Alfa Mist) and Dani Diodato (Pyjæn, Arlo Parks). With echoes of the like of D’Angelo, Jordan Rakei and the RH Factor, we’re delighted to be able to premiere the EP right here on Backseat Mafia this morning.
We spoke to Leo who talks us both through the EP as a whole, but each track as a separate entity. Grab yourself some decent headphone’s, a cup of whatever you’re having, and check out the smart jazz-soul of Leo Pesci, here:
Leo: “All tracks have been written and produced by myself (harmonies, arrangements and lyrics). My brother Dani Diodato collaborated with me on GUTS, and I worked with Vincenzo De Fraia on the other 3 tracks. So, it has been a project with 3 heads on the production in order to give a more ‘diverse’ and heterogeneous point of view on production and delivery of the music.
The project has been called ‘Community’ not just for the production point of view, but also because all the amazing musicians who took part in it are based in South East London. In fact, the aim was to give a ‘taste’ of jazz and neo-soul vibes from the point of view of these artists who are living and doing music in South East London in our time. Band is composed by young musicians that are making history already or that will definitely do in the next few years: Jas Kayser at drums (Jorja Smith), Dani Diodato on guitars (Arlo Parks, Pyjaen), Johnny Woodham on trumpet (Alfa Mista), Nicola Guida on keys (Secret Night Gang), Callum Connell on sax (Secret Night Gang), Ernesto Marichales on percussion (Jordan Rakei) and Vincenzo De Fraia on bass, featuring Simon Jnr and Ella Knight.
Regarding harmonies and sound, the inspiration of this EP comes mainly from the work of D’Angelo, RH Factor, Hiatus Kaiyote, Jordan Rakei and a few others. Lyrics talk mainly about our society in general (Mad Reality, Feel the change, Guts) but also about love (No secrets).”
This track talks about the reality that we all live in Western countries, and more in general in capitalism. I wrote it down on the base of my experience as an immigrant. When I was 24, I left Italy and I lived in South America for a few years since 2018, when I moved to London. Life in South America is really different and young people are really into politics and criticise western culture and Capitalism in general. This big contrast between cultures (almost a ‘cultural shock’) inspired me to have a reflection on capitalism and all the matters related to it, depression, anxiety and others.
Feel the change
Sound wise, this track has been a beautiful challenge cause I wanted to deliver my point of view on D’Angelo (‘Vodoo’) and RH Factor works. The work of Johnny Woodham has been a key for this track, as well as the idea of using not just drums but also the percussions of Ernesto Marichales.
Lyrics wise, my idea was to talk about big changes in life and how important is to challenge our old views and way to think in order to create disorder in our lives; only through disorder and pain is possible to find a new way to think and live.
This is the only track that has been produced in collaboration with Dani Diodato (Arlo Parks). Sound wise, you can clearly listen the connection between this track and my 2nd single of the previous EP ‘On a blue sunny day’. Lyrics talk about my story as a musician and the struggling of being an independent artist.
Sound wise, this track is maybe the closest to the UK’s nu jazz vibe (Kaamal Williams, Yussef Dayes, etc.). Lyrics are a reflection about truthfulness in relationships.