Prior to seeing Dino Jag at the Melbourne’s Dong Dong lounge I had only heard his name mentioned in conversations. What I had heard intrigued me!

I fronted the Ding Dong lounge where Dino was playing and was totally knocked out.

So who is Dino Jag?   On checking some background information I found him spoken of as a “South Australian treasure”. High praise which I discovered is comfortably worn.

“Dino Jag” La Vista is not new to the music scene and has shared the stage with a wide range of artists including Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi), Sammy Hagar (Van Halen), Adelaide & Queensland Symphony Orchestras, James Morrison, Steve Vai (David Lee Roth/ Whitesnake), Daryl Braithwaite and Ian Moss.

OK, so there is an old saying, you are only as good as your last gig so let’s briefly look at that gig that was at the Ding Dong lounge.

Accompanied by Virgil Reality on trumpet and fugal horn and Nick Romano on drums, he hit the stage like a raging dynamo.

Image of Dino Jag and band
Left to right – Virgil Reality on horn, Nick Romano on drums and Dino Jag – Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne [June 2017]

Talk about high intensity and energetic, Dino Jag has it all including the ability to very quickly strike a rapport with his audience.

Image of Dino Jag
Dino Jag in full flight at the Ding Dong Lounge – Melbourne (June 2017)

The show was to present his rapidly becoming acclaimed “Breakthrough” EP with this “Stripped Back” show that showcased his latest songs, along with some classic covers. But this is not raw unfocussed power, it is carefully focussed and his stage presence is only equalled by his vocal ability and the quality of his material. Dino really is a wonderfully accomplished musician with an incredible voice.

The compositions and indeed his vocal presentation, are intensely intimate yet incredibly dynamic and upbeat.

The CD is titled Breakthrough and is an EP with six original compositions.

  1. Two Young Hearts
  2. Nothing But you
  3. My Life Is Changed
  4. You Make Me Feel So Good
  5. Breakthrough
  6. Sweet Summer Smile

 

The CD features:

Dino Jag – Vocals & Acoustic Guitar
Aaron Sterling – Drums
Corey Britz – Bass
Tim Pierce – Guitars
Jeff Bova – Keyboards
Bernard Fowler – Backing Vocals
Carol Hatchett – backing Vocals

 

The first two tracks could best be described as energetic dance tracks, with track 1 featuring some very tasteful electric guitar. Check out the video!

Track 3 – “My Life Is Changed” is the ‘release’ from the energy built up by the first two tracks. It is more layback, but no ‘soppy’ ballad for Jag, yes the tempo is down but this is a beautiful emotive and intense track.

Track 4 – “You Make Me Feel So Good” has fast become my favourite. Having the down beat on the 1st beat moves it away from the rock ‘n’ roll idiom of the backbeat, and actually provides a drive that supports some fabulous playing.

This track perfectly demonstrates Dino’s vocal ability and his ability to write lyrics that tell a good story and has that all important vocal hook, you know the one that just makes you want to sing along.

I guess the best demonstration is to listen for yourself.

Dino Jag - You Make Me Feel So Good

I never had a girl like you
A country girl with dreadlock curls who loves the world I feel so new, I count my lucky stars

Oh, you’re not like the rest, there’s no BS
Your looks could kill but you’re so chill, I’m the king on the hill I feel so fresh, my heart is so undressed
You’re like a sorceress

Gonna get on an aeroplane
Gonna fly like a hurricane
Gonna jump on a fast train
Cos you make me feel good
You make me feel so good

When I met you girl
I got lost in your magic spell
I said oh, oh, oh, what a ride, you’re so superfly
I really tried not to stare
But my eyes wouldn’t look elsewhere
I said oh, oh, oh
I said oh, oh, oh
You make me feel so good

Oh, I’ve got your photograph floating in my head
Drinking hippy tea in your faded jeans and your coloured beads
And daisies in your hair, don’t change a thing
No don’t you change a thing

Gonna shout on a crowded street
Gonna yell like Cherokee
Gonna tell everyone I see
That you make me feel good
You make me feel so good
You make me feel so good
You make me feel so good
You make me feel so good

Discovered your tattoo
Making love to rhythm and blues
I said oh, oh, oh, make me purr like a kitty cat
You guessed my Zodiac
Said we were quite a match
Did the café crawl, the moonlight stroll
Walking barefoot under the city lights
More champagne for two
To the start of something new
I said oh, oh, oh

I said oh, oh
Now-now-now-now, now that I met you
Oh, oh
What you do-do-do-do-do, do to me
Make me go ga-ga-ga-ga-ga

I wrote a brand new song, it’s my favourite tune About a country girl with dreadlock curls
I love the world when I’m with you, I count my lucky stars I count my lucky stars

Gonna get on an aeroplane
Gonna fly like a hurricane
Gonna jump on a fast train
Cos you make me feel good
You make me feel so good

[Written by Dino Jag LaVista]

 

Breakthrough” is both the name of this album and track number 5. This is a second track where the tempo is dropped down a little initially. Kicking off with a nice delicate piano piece, all I can say is “wow”. What a voice and what a beautiful track. The tempo picks up into a gentle and delightful composition.

Finally we come to the final track – “Sweet Summer Smile” – a funky piece that demonstrates Dino’s ability sing in a multitude of styles and a great choice to finish with.

So, where does that leave us?

Well a quick mention regarding the production. The music on the album was recorded at Sunset Sound and the vocals and final mix at Raleigh Studio.  They have achieved a very nicely balanced sound.  Many a good track has been ruined by poor engineering and or poor post production.

In the case of Breakthrough we have clearly defined vocals and beautifully placed backing harmonies. The individual instruments sit nicely in the mix without overwhelming the vocals and all in all the people involved should be proud of what they have achieved.

OK, finally as good as Dino is on this album, he is extraordinary live. So if you get the chance grab a live show! You can always find out where he is playing from his website – Dino Jag , or catch up on Facebook.

We hope it’s not long before he is back in Melbourne.

Dino jag is not a raw diamond; he is very much a polished gem, yet I believe the best facets of this diamond are still to come. As good as he is he is going to get even better.

This debut album, “Breakthrough”, is available from his store and is only $15.00. Money not just well spent, but money that is returned many fold through his music.


This review was written by:
Rob Greaves – [ Senior Editor Toorak Times]