Amazon.com Widgets

Rhonda Thomas and Michael Coppola: Guess Who I Saw Today (2003)

By Published: | 2,903 views
Rhonda Thomas and Michael Coppola: Guess Who I Saw Today No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

It has always seemed to me to require an inordinate amount of confidence and courage to sing at all, let alone to showcase one’s voice in the pared down, natural environment chosen by Rhonda Thomas and Michael Coppola for their duo release, Guess Who I Saw Today. Let it be said from the outset that both Thomas and Coppola rise to the challenge quite impressively.

Consisting mostly of ballads, with a few up-tempo pieces added for variety, Guess Who I Saw Today is an album of clean, skilled music. Thomas and Coppola, despite a ten year break from each other’s company prior to recording this album, interact together wonderfully. Coppola’s perfectly timed picking matches every rise and fall Thomas throws at him, and Thomas blends her voice seamlessly with Coppola’s subtle, careful sound.

Clearly strongly influenced by Sarah Vaughan’s interpretive style, Thomas possesses great range and uses it to establish, like Vaughan, dramatic, if sometimes slightly melodramatic, moods. Digging into each song, Thomas works hard to get at the root of each piece while also presenting a personal interpretation. In a few instances, Thomas relies too frequently on similar phrasing techniques and variations in intonation to build these moods, leaving some of the songs sounding stock, as if they hadn’t received the same thought presented on the other, more appealing works such as the Strayhorn, Ellington, LaTouche composition “Day Dream” or the emotive title track, “Guess Who I Saw Today.”

Rhonda Thomas seems more comfortable in ballad settings, and her up-tempo work, particularly her scat on “Straighten Up and Fly Right”, suffers from a lack of rhythmic variety and tonal grit, a problem which may have been caused by the duo setting. It would be interesting to hear Thomas and Coppola take on such pieces with a full quartet or quintet to provide the vocalist, in particular, with more to work from and against.

Despite these disappointments, this is an album of well-crafted and well-executed music that takes pleasure in itself and will most likely appeal to anyone looking for a quiet, serene look at a variety of jazz classics.

Track Listing: 1. The End of A Love Affair 2. The Girl from Ipanema 3. Daydram 4. Miss Celie's Blues 5. A Night in Tunisia 6. Guess Who I Saw Today 7. Nice Work if You Can Get It 8. Ill Wind 9. Straighten Up and Fly Right 10. Good Morning Heartache 11. That's All

Personnel: Rhonda Thomas: Vocals; Michael Coppola: Guitar

Record Label: String Jazz Recordings

Style: Vocal


comments powered by Disqus
Search
Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Mark Elf

Mark Elf

About | Enter

Stefano Bollani

Stefano Bollani

About | Enter

Carmen Lundy

Carmen Lundy

About | Enter

Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith

About | Enter

Bandzoogle: GET STARTED TODAY - FREE TRIAL

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.

Article Search