July 1, 2014
Ellynne Rey A Little Bit Of Moonlight (self produced)
Singing a nice selection of songs drawn mainly from the Great American Songbook interspersed with jazz pieces by Mal Waldron (Soul Eyes), Thelonious Monk (Ruby, My Dear), McCoy Tyner (You Taught My Heart To Sing) and Bill Evans (Blue In Green), Ellynne Rey shows herself to be a confident addition to the jazz singing scene. Ellynne has a warmly intimate style and is accompanied by pianist Bennett Paster, drummer Tony Jefferson, percussionist Daniel Sadownick, and notably by guitarist Gene Bertoncini and bassist Paul Beaudry. High points on the album include Ellynne and Gene on How Deep Is The Ocean and the Monk and Tyner songs, while Elynne and Paul share their obvious mutual respect and delight on What A Little Moonlight Can Do. Elsewhere, Bennett has several good solos and the percussionists keep things nicely buoyed, in particular on Latin-tinged tracks that include My One And Only Love and Besame Mucho. The care and understanding with which Ellynne interprets lyrics is evident throughout, and is demonstrated especially with Meredith D’Ambrosio’s words to Blue In Green, and on songbook staples such as I Fall In Love Too Easily, another example of singer with guitar and bass. Altogether, an attractive album that should appeal to many.
Jason Paul Curtis Faux Bourgeois Café (self produced)
Trumpeter, singer and songwriter, Jason Paul Curtis has declared that he draws his composing and playing inspiration from Django Reinhardt. Some of Reinhardt’s rhythmic buoyancy and his gypsy heritage is evident in some of Jason’s compositions, but mostly the songs here are his own contemporary take on relaxed small-group jazz. Washington DC-based Jason is joined here by pianist Ray Mabalot, bassist Ephraim Wolfolk Jr, drummer Woody Hume, saxophonist Dave Schiff and guitarist John Albertson. Jason’s singing voice has a nice, late-night warmth and his trumpet playing is very effective. Eight of the ten tracks are originals and there is about Jason’s music an appropriately lively feeling and the band always swings with that seemingly effortless ease that enhanced so much of Reinhardt’s work. The two non-originals are both from films: Vangelis’s One More Kiss, Dear (from Blade Runner) and a particularly attractive version of Nino Rota and Larry Kusic’s Speak Softly Love (The Godfather).
Caterina Zapponi Romantica (Motéma 233851)
Caterina Zapponi’s musical heritage draws upon her parents; her mother a French chanteuse, her father an Italian screenwriter. Fluent in both languages, Caterina maintains her obvious love for romance languages and she uses one or the other of these in the songs on this release. That said, most of us are familiar with the songs, even if only versions that had English-language lyrics added (although there a couple of pieces that started out that way and are here pleasingly adapted. The songs include Non Dimenticar, Maladie d’Amour, Estaté, Stardust and Li’l Darlin’. Caterina, who has been resident in America for two decades, working mainly in and around New York City, is accompanied here by her husband, pianist Monty Alexander, guitarists Bucky Pizzarelli and Frank Vignola and bassist Martin Pizzarelli among others. All instrumentalists add excellent support and pianists and guitarists have well-taken solo spots. A very attractive set by a fine singer. (This CD came to me initially via Jazz Journal and a review also appears there.)
These albums are available at Amazon as are those reviewed on previous pages.
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