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Matt Bianco
Origin United Kingdom
Genres Sophisti-pop, jazz, pop, soul, dance, latin pop, bossa nova
Years active 1983 – present
Labels current:
Edel
Victor Entertainment
past:
Warner Music Group
Emarcy
East West Records
ZYX Music
Intercord
Universal Music
Associated acts Basia
Website MattBianco.com
Members
Mark Reilly
Mark Fisher
Former members
Basia Trzetrzelewska
Danny White
Kito Poncioni

Matt Bianco is a UK band that was formed in 1983. They are mainly known for their success in the mid 1980s and their jazz, Latin-flavoured music.

Popular during the mid 1980s in continental Europe, Matt Bianco epitomised the new jazz pop genre, that they shared with acts such as Working Week, Sade, Everything but the Girl, and The Style Council. The name suggests that Matt Bianco is a personal name, often referred to the main constant member and frontman, Mark Reilly, but Matt is in fact "a made up spy, a secret agent; we loved spy TV themes and film scores".[1]

Contents

The early years as a trio

Formed by Mark Reilly (vocals), Danny White (keyboards), and the late Kito Poncioni (bass) in 1982 from the shards of the abandoned art pop group, Blue Rondo A La Turk, for their first album, Whose Side Are You On?, they hired then unknown Polish vocalist Basia Trzetrzelewska. Her vocal arrangements gave the album a jazzy dimension that Reilly and White could not anticipate but made good use of. Mixmaster Phil Harding applied what would become his signature style to the recordings. Hits like "Get Out of Your Lazy Bed" and "Half a Minute," which Basia would feature live throughout her solo career, turned Matt Bianco into one of the biggest acts of Europe in 1984.

Basia and Danny White, subsequently a couple in real life too, left the group soon after the first album to pursue an apparently more lucrative solo career with Sony, under the name Basia, on the Epic label. They maintained their working relationship with Phil Harding, who would continue to work with Matt Bianco as well. Mark Reilly, now without a musical partner, found ex-Wham keyboarder and session musician, Mark Fisher, and recorded the next (self-titled) Matt Bianco album.

The Reilly-Fisher duo years

With Mark Fisher replacing White and Trzetrzelewska, the sound changed considerably. Fisher, a keyboardist, composer and studio wizard, contributed a more contemporary sound, compared to that of the early Matt Bianco. The use of synthesizers increased notably: Yamaha's DX-7 can be heard providing the slap bass in most songs, but the choice of noted studio musicians remained consistent with Ronnie Ross being the most prominent example. After the first album with the new line-up, they took a 13-piece band on to a European tour, that saw them perform in front of an audience of more than 250,000 attendees in total.

As Matt Bianco was a household name in Europe, Warner Brothers thought it was time to market them in the U.S.. They hired Gloria Estefan's husband and producer Emilio Estefan to produce a few songs, and recorded their third album, Indigo, with the Estefan productions being chosen as singles. 1988's "Don't Blame it on That Girl" and "Good Times" only made a moderate impact, apart from "Wap-Bam-Boogie", an album track originally on the B-side of the first single too, which did well on the dance charts, and pushed the joint single release up to Number 11 on the UK Singles Chart, making it their best achievement ever in the whole history of Matt Bianco, either as a trio or as a duo. After a first Greatest Hits album, entitled The Best of Matt Bianco, collecting their greatest hits from 1983 to 1990, actually out in 1990, and another studio album with Warner Brothers - the fractured Samba in Your Casa, the fourth long-playing by the group, released in 1991 - Reilly and Fisher split from their record company, and went freelance. From then on, they would record their albums in their own studios, and then offer them to independent distributors worldwide.

Now, they had total artistic freedom, but commercial success was harder to achieve. They scored contracts with ZYX Music and Intercord in Europe, and Victor Entertainment in Asia, but failed to sign on with another major label. The next albums did not sell that well in Europe, but they created a loyal fan base in Japan, and the rest of Asia. The albums Another Time Another Place, Gran Via, World Go Round, A/Collection (not a Greatest Hits album, but more of a Best-Of collection, compiling a number of remakes of Matt Bianco's stand-out album tracks plus remixes of a few of their hits too), Rico, and Echoes sold well enough for a comfortable lifestyle in the South-East of England.

After twenty years recording and touring, Fisher started to crave a different lifestyle, and the two split amicably.

The reunion of the original trio line-up

Initiated by a mutual friend, Basia and Danny White joined with Mark Reilly to reform the "original" Matt Bianco, in 2003, signing to the Emarcy label. In 2004, Matt Bianco released the album Matt's Mood (the name is from one of their most popular early instrumental tracks), which featured well-crafted adult-contemporary/jazz numbers, in the spirit of their first album. This was accompanied by an extensive PR exercise, giving the album plenty of airtime. The following year, they embarked on a world tour, which included stops in the UK, Japan, and the United States.

The present: back again to the duo

After the success of Matt's Mood, Basia and White left Matt Bianco again to reinvigorate the Basia franchise. Reilly and Fisher were back as a duo. Three compilation albums were marketed between 2005 and 2008, including The Best of Matt Bianco - Volume 2, containing many of the Asian tracks, which were so far only available in Germany for European fans, and the re-release of the original 1990 The Best of Matt Bianco, featuring their European hits from 1983 to 1990. In May 2009 Fisher and Reilly released their first album as a duo for eight years in Europe, the UK and Japan. With HiFi Bossanova the band secured a recording contract with Edel Music in Europe and continued their cooperation with JVC-Victor in Japan.

Discography

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Albums

[2 ]

Compilations

  • 1990 - The Best of Matt Bianco (UK #49) (collection of best tracks from the European period 1983 to 1990
  • 1993 - Yeah Yeah
  • 1998 - A/Collection (collection of remakes of hits and of stand-out album tracks) (Japanese edition including 17 tracks)
  • 2000 - A/Collection (collection of remakes of stand-out album tracks and remixes of a few hits) (European edition including 16 tracks)
  • 2005 - The Best of Matt Bianco: Platinum Collection (re-release of The Best of Matt Bianco)
  • 2005 - Let's Dance (Matt Bianco dance hits)
  • 2006 - Wap Bam Boogie
  • 2008 - The Best of Matt Bianco - Volume 2 (collection of best tracks from the German/Asian period 1991 to 2008 - Internet release)

[2 ]

Singles

Singles Europe 1983-1990

  • February 1984 - "Get Out of Your Lazy Bed" (#15 UK Singles Chart - 8 weeks in the charts), #8 Ireland
  • April/May 1984 - "Sneaking Out the Back Door"/"Matt's Mood" (#44 UK - 7 weeks), #22 Ireland
  • November 1984 - "Half a Minute" (#23 UK - 10 weeks)
  • February 1985 - "More Than I Can Bear" (remix) - (#50 UK - 7 weeks)
  • September 1985 - "Yeh Yeh" (#13 UK - 10 weeks), #15 Ireland
  • February 1986 - "Just Can't Stand It" (#66 UK - 2 weeks)
  • June 1986 - "Dancing in the Street" (#64 UK - 3 weeks)
  • May 1988 - "Don't Blame It on That Girl" / "Wap-Bam-Boogie" (double A-side) (#11 UK - 13 weeks), #8 Ireland
  • August 1988 - "Good Times" (#55 UK - 3 weeks)
  • January 1989 - "Nervous / Wap-Bam-Boogie (re-mix)" (#59 UK - 2 weeks), #22 Ireland
  • April 1989 - "Say It's Not Too Late" (UK -)
  • September 1990 - "Fire in the Blood" (UK -)
  • December 1990 - "Wap-Bam-Boogie 1990" (UK -)
  • February 1992 - "What a Fool Believes" #23 Ireland

[2 ]

Singles Germany/Asia 1991-1998

  • October 1991 - "Macumba"
  • 1992 - "What a Fool Believes"
  • September 1993 - "Our Love" (Japan)
  • 1994 - "Our Love" (Germany)
  • December 1994 - "Buddy Love"
  • August 1995 - "Lost in You" (Germany)
  • October 1995 - "Lost in You" (Japan)
  • June 1997 - "Altozano"
  • July 1997 - "Sunshine Day / Lost in You 1997"
  • 1998 - "Boogie Mi Vista"

See also

References

  1. ^ Matt Bianco biography at emarcy.com
  2. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 355. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.  

External links


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