Elena Kapeleris makes her debut as a singer and saxophonist with Introduction
. Kapeleris studied saxophone with Pat La Barbera
, who placed emphasis on learning the words to jazz standards. She soon began singing lessons and went on to perform both as a singer and saxophonist.
Of the seven tunes here, four are duets with guitarist Tom Juhas, whose chord work urges the song onward. The two work in beautiful consonance, the high mark being "I'm in the Mood For Love." Kapeleris blows with an abiding sense of time and development. Her phrasing is sure and heartfelt, her intonation engaging the innate feel of the melody. She invests enough swing to grab, and when she shifts into the upper register and elongates the notes at the end, she has stamped her imprint on the tune.
Kapeleris' vocal interpretation of the standards stands up to scrutiny with a huskiness that is intimate and immediate. She sets up that ambience succinctly on "The Nearness of You" to create a sense of belonging.
A Latin swish fans the quartet outing of "All or Nothing at All." The arrangement elevates the song and Kapeleris sings with a slight abandon and swing in which her voice suggests certain aloofness that love has to be complete. In doing so, she underlines the message. Juhas adds a distinctive statement on the acoustic guitar as LaBarbera, who is a unique minister of the saxophone, adds his own distinctive touch.
Kapeleris anchors her debut with a fine performance. This should augur well for her ongoing journey.
Personnel: Elena Kapeleris: vocals, saxophone; Pat LaBarbera: saxophone (1, 4,
6); Tom Juhas: guitar; Brandi Disterheft: bass.