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Maurizio Lauroja is one of the musicians who make the work we do at OZ Beat worth it. When he approached OZ Beat with a link to some song samples at his website, we knew we needed to hear more. So when the CD arrived we were expecting a lot. He is clearly grounded in electro blues. But, there is so much more. He has the swagger of Willy DeVille, the versatility of Chris Spedding, the precision of Snakefinger and the cool soul of Booker T and the MGs. His album “Heaven or Hell” also proves that he has a very talented group of friends. Guido Block’s bass and voice impress throughout; what a great voice! Roberto Gualdi is the drummer that a lot of bands are looking to add to their line-up. They both have an impressive set of credentials, deservedly so. And, like us at OZ Beat, they also see the brilliance in Maurizio’s guitar work.

There are numerous other very talented musicians who join Maurizio on this album. The result is a sure classic; it needs to be heard. The rockers really do rock, and the blues numbers, well, they rock too. It was so long ago that Chris Spedding stepped out from his role as a session man and gave us classics like “Hey Miss Betty,” “Pogo Dancing,” “Motorbikin’” and a slew of others. Maurizio succeeds in much the same way. “Heaven or Hell” works from start to finish. There is not a weak song to be found. It is easy for OZ Beat to speculate that Maurizio is Italy’s best guitarist; but we don’t know that for sure. What we do know is that Maurizio is one of the best guitarists that we have heard in many years—and “Heaven or Hell” is a musical treasure that belongs in the collection of anybody who loves superb guitar work in the context of extremely well-crafted songs.

Votazione: 5 stelle



Artist: Maurizio Lauroja
Title: Heaven or Hell
Genre: Rock, Blues
Label: Independent

Italian musician Maurizio Lauroja is a breath of fresh air to hear. Your first impression of his new album Heaven or Hell will most certainly make you realize rather quickly that he will make a huge impression on the blues-rock community. If this CD is any indication of his talent, he is in for one hell of a ride in the music business. This guy has the chops to become an internationally recognized name overnight if his music falls into the right hands.
The most amazing thing about Lauroja is that he decided to launch his career as a guitarist/lead vocalist when he was 40! This is proof it is never too late to go after your dreams, hell, just look at what Grandma Moses did. Lauroja and his good friends recorded this great album for one specific reason, to celebrate their love and passion for music. Oh yes, passion, does it ever boil over by the truckload on this album! The guitar playing and vocals of Lauroja burn with the red-hot embers of pure passion and desire every step of the way. I must also comment on the dynamite vocals of Ms. Vittoria Vittuone, who is a real firecracker, with pipes that fit the music perfectly.
You will hear influences of Hendrix (wah-wah and feedback) and Stevie Ray Vaughn (stinging blues riffs) weaving their way through each track. I honestly did not hear a song that I did not love on this CD, and that is a rare occurrence indeed. When the album kicks off with the barnburner “Suprising Sue,” you instantly know that you are in for the trip of your life, and it is just the beginning. Interestingly enough, I found a similarity to another artist with a connection to Italy, blues-rocker Scott Finch, who happens to be on the Italian label Comet Records.
Primarily, I have to commend Lauroja for his superb guitar work, it rocks steadily throughout this release and it is soaked in the blues to get the vocals across with more meaning and feeling. This one is a real keeper and one of the best albums I have heard this year, it certainly re-energized me and got my heart pumping again about the music I was listening to, and for that I am grateful.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck
September 14, 2004



Maurizio Lauroja - Heaven or Hell

As I have reviewed artists from all over the world, I have discovered what would ultimately become some of my own favorite artists. I have been surprised by just how many great blues/rock artists and bands there are in places I never imagined I would find them. Two of my personal favorites hail from Italy, that being Lello Panico and Tolo Marton. Though each is remarkably talented, Marton is especially gifted.
Today, I add a third name, that being Maurizio Lauroja, to that list of impressive Italian bluesrockers. "Heaven Or Hell" is the debut solo effort of Italian veteran guitarist Lauroja, and a most impressive debut recording it is. The CD is a collection of 13 excellent original tracks all composed by Lauroja and band. Like Tolo Marton's recordings, this set from Lauroja is
extremely well engineered, something that appears to be true of a lot of Italian blues/rock music. The musicians here are friends of Lauroja's and have joined together on this project, to quote Lauroja, to create a "dream that became a reality". And a very enjoyable reality it has become.
As mentioned before, the entire CD is very solid, with some of the better tracks coming towards the end of the recording, somthing I cannot say about many other recordings. It seems that the longer you listen to this CD, the better it becomes. Lauroja is an outstanding and very tasteful guitarist, who scores extra points with me for exquisite tone (just listen to "Love Struck") with lots of wah-wah and electric type boogies. He is backed by a great rhythm section of Roberto Gualdi on drums and song writer/vocalist Guido Block (and others) on bass. The keyboards on this set come compliments of Damiano Della Torre and are both well played and incredibly well mixed, adding much to the overall sound. Several other of Lauroja's friends join in here and there, with the final product being a well performed and well produced recording. The lyrics at times are a bit on the dark side, other times considerably lighter, but generally interesting. It is, however, the musical talents of this band of friends that makes this recording so very enjoyable.

I liked all of the tracks, with the two consecutive hard drivers "Tell Me It's All Right" and "Tell Me Baby" perhaps being my favorites However, it is all good and should spend considerable time in your CD player. You can purchase the CD from our fine friends at CD Baby (www.cdbaby.com) and be sure to visit with Maurizio at his official web site www.mauriziolauroja.com.

Tom Branson

Arriva il disco d'esordio «Heaven or hell» Lauroja, prezioso debutto

dI Alessandro Casellato

Un altro meritato traguardo discografico per un musicista comasco: tra pochi giorni sarà disponibile nei negozi «Heaven or Hell», esordio su cd del talentuoso chitarrista Maurizio Lauroja. Questo nome storico del sound dal vivo lariano, ha consolidato il suo "atto d'amore" per la musica da lui preannunciato tempo fa, ultimando questo disco la cui stampa delle copie è a pieno ritmo. L'amico Guido Block lo ha coprodotto con Maurizio, scrivendo i testi in inglese, cantando, componendo tre brani e dividendo le parti di basso con i colleghi Alberto Bollati, Paolo Legramandi e Mauro Abbatiello. Roberto Gualdi alla batteria e Damiano Della Torre all'hammond completano un lavoro che all'ascolto sembra americano o inglese, incorniciato nella confezione da suggestive immagini della pittrice milanese Silvia Pisani, autrice di molti omaggi figurativi al rock. La musica potente e coinvolgente di Heaven or Hell lo rende un piccolo grande must. Surprising Sue perentoria apertura dell'album, è introdotta da un vigoroso riff di organo di Della Torre. La voce grintosa di Guido Block è invece sorniona nella successiva Damn, con fiati e cori in perfetto stile rhythm'n'blues. Ecco le schitarrate slide di That's all e quelle imponenti di Foot the Bill, già rodati con grande successo dal vivo. La titletrack Heaven or hell cita nel testo Stevie Ray Vaughan ed Hendrix con i quali Maurizio immagina una fantastica jam. Delusion reca un bellissimo intemezzo jazzato. Ecco poi il funky di Father, il rock alla "Free" di Tell me it's All Right e nuovamente il blues di Love me baby, impreziosito dal controcanto di Vittoria Vittuone.




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