How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Denise Donatelli brings the rich texture of her voice and the subtle rhythmic stride of her phrasing to the forum through a program of familiar jazz standards on In the Company of Friends. Working with an all-star ensemble of Los Angeles veterans, she's comfortable with a balance of heartfelt interpretation and sparkling musical persuasion.
"You Don't Know What Love Is" proves sultry and exotic as the singer cools her delivery with whispered sighs and then builds the aura with powerful vocal punctuation. Sparkling with syncopated clusters, the music reinforces a lyric message that attempts to describe the way we feel when driven by emotion. Anxious chords and furious phrases strengthen the song's intentions.
"Send in the Clowns" brings a relaxed accompaniment into play in order to focus on Donatelli's hauntingly questioning lyric interpretation. The song represents a search. She prefers to maintain a mellow pace, bringing the song to its fruition without muss or fuss.
She's at her best with a fast romp like "This is New" or a sultry blues like Tom Garvin's "Roarin' Borin' Alice." Donatelli, convincing in her interpretation of lyrics and musically refreshing in her partnership with this all-star ensemble, gives her audience an affair to remember and comes recommended for her loyalty to the jazz backbone.
Track Listing: On Green Dolphin Street; The Thrill is Gone; 'Round Midnight; You Don't Know What Love
Is; A Sleepin' Bee; Send in the Clowns; This is New; If You Could See Me Now; Dream
Dancing; A Roarin' Borin' Alice; When Summer Turns to Snow.
Personnel: Denise Donatelli: vocals; Tom Garvin: piano; Tom Warrington: bass; Steve Houghton:
drums; Peter Woodford: guitar; Clay Jenkins: trumpet; Andy Martin: trombone; Bob
Sheppard: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute; Tom Peterson: tenor saxophone;
Brian Scanlon: alto flute; Brian Kilgore: percussion.