Gina Kronstadt has graced recordings by many musical giants, including Dr John
, Charlie Haden
, Rod Stewart
and Aretha Franklin
. Most of the time it's her talent as a violinist that's called upon. For her debut release as leader, Come Over
, she puts the violin to one side and concentrates on singing: original songs of love, with a contemporary twist.Come Over
is a collection of jazz songs with a pop sensibility: accessible, easy to listen to, engaging. "Magic," a tribute to the power of music, features a suitably fiery sax solo from Bob Sheppard
and Kronstadt's lush string arrangement and multi-tracked vocals. "Just Ask" is more overtly political, a paean to the Occupy movement perhaps. The lighter side of love, lust and relationships comes through on "Tell Me (Or Not),"and the fairly self-explanatory "Twitter Stole My Boyfriend." Kronstadt opens her sad tale of social networking with a spoken word intro then raps her response to the guy's 140-character affair.
Even when Kronstadt's lyrics speak more seriously of love's less-than-smooth road ("Come Over" or "That Night" for example), the music feels positive. Much of that positivity is due to the rhythm section of drummer Gary Novak
and percussionist Luis Conte
, aided and abetted by the bass playing of Christian McBride
or Reggie Hamilton
. There are some fine arrangements too. "Come Over" mixes Kronstadt's seductive string arrangement with John Daversa
's horn charts (and his equally seductive trumpet solo). "That Night" opens with a smooth string section combined with McBride's contrastingly forceful, though equally stylish, double bass solo.
When Kronstadt began to record these songs she didn't intend producing and releasing an album. Some of her (unidentified) musician friends persuaded her to go all the way and produce Come Over
. Wisely, she decided to heed that advice.
Personnel: Gina Kronstadt: vocals; Bob Sheppard: saxophones, flute, bass clarinet; John Beasley: Fender Rhodes; Gary Novak: drums; Luis Conte: percussion; Walt Fowler: trumpet (4); John Daversa: trumpet (3, 5); Christian McBride: double bass (1, 2, 5, 6); Reggie Hamilton: double bass (3, 4, 7, 8); Joel Derouin: violin; John Wittenberg: violin; Daphne Chen: violin; Susan Chatman: violin; Cameron Patrick: violin; Calabria Foti: violin; Adrianna Zoppo: violin; Shari Zippert: violin; Lynn Grants: viola; Nancy Roth: viola; Maurice Grants: cello; Stefanie Fife: cello.