For her debut album, singer Josephine Livoti brings some positive factors to the table include a very effective piano trio, a few very interesting choices of tunes and an animated style. Unfortunately, she also provides some uneven vocals that contribute to the overall impression of this album.
. Livoti begins promisingly with a vocal version of Rahsaan Roland Kirk's signature song, "Bright Moments," with lyrics by Jon Hendricks. Other than Hendricks and the various Kirk recordings, few if any have ever provided a vocal to this composition. Then Livoti surprises with a hesitant vocal version of Luis Bonfa's "Samba de Orfeu," from the 1959 film Black Orpheus that introduced bossa nova to the world. Here the song is re-titled "Sweet Happy Life," with lyrics from Norman Gimbel, Maria Antonio and Andre Salver, and is kept afloat by the swirling treatment from her trio. Livoti's this vocal version with past versions by Rosemary Clooney, Chris Connor and Peggy Lee.
Livoti presents an unconvincing version of "My Funny Valentine," a tune that most vocalists who have the song in their repertoire can nail to the wall, despite a tasty solo from pianist James Weidman. She makes the most of the Dave and Iola Brubeck ballad, "Briar Bush. An up-tempo version of the Pinkard/Tauber/Tracey staple, "Them There Eyes," on the other hand, features vocals best be described as wobbly.
Most of the other tunes, like Bergman/LeGrand/Demi "You Must Believe in Spring," Jobim's "Dindi" and the Shearing anthem, "Lullaby of Birdland" are sung adequately.
Livoti's ensemblefeaturing, alongside Weidman, bassist Paul West and drummer Greg Bandy (who contributes some very effective brushwork)does a fine job of providing the underpinnings for the album. Still, despite several positives, Bright Moments comes across as a mixed blessing.
Personnel: Josephine Livoti: vocals; James Weidman: piano; Paul West: bass; Greg Bandy: drums.