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Chiara Civello: Last Quarter Moon (2005)

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Chiara Civello: Last Quarter Moon How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

A young and lovely Italian girl with a voice as light as air. That's one way to describe Chiara Civello. But that would hardly be adequate. She's a singer of the finest order, with a whispery alto voice that soothes on every word. Reminiscent to a small degree of such divas as Flora Purim and Astrud Gilberto, yet distinctive. Comparisons to Corinne Drewery of Swing Out Sister wouldn't be far off the mark.

Born in Rome in 1975, the vocalist debuts on Last Quarter Moon , an album that displays many facets of her musical persona. Civello is right at home singing jazz, Latin or Brazilian music—all of which are represented. The album includes ten original songs (three co-written), a cover of Suzanne Vega's "Caramel,"? and the Brazilian-influenced "Outono"? ("Autumn"?), penned by Rosa Passos.

From the opening track, "Here Is Everything,"? to the title song and the somber closer, "I Won't Run Away,"? Civello's voice—deftly backed by some outstanding session musicians—is enchanting, elegant and fascinating. She's the perfect remedy for a stressful day, a singer who can help you relax or make you fall in love with the moment.

Supplemented by Alain Mallet's melodica, Civello delivers the ultimate flattery with a charming presentation of "Caramel."? That's followed by her own "Parole Incerte"? ("Uncertain Words"?), which is about the misunderstandings that can come from the distance between a person and her loved ones.

One of the more interesting songs is "Trouble,"? not just because of its brooding quality but because of how it came to be. Civello had nearly every song on the album when her producer, Russ Titelman, called and said that songwriting legend Burt Bacharach was interested in writing with her. It came together over a three-day session at Bacharach's home in Los Angeles. Civello arrived with the melody, and the duo shaped and refined it as a team. The result is pure elegance.

"Jazz is the most incredible driving machine when it comes to going really deep into music,"? Civello says about her path of discovery. "But I knew I couldn't be the new Ella Fitzgerald; I couldn't be the new Shirley Horn. I learned all different kinds of music and then I said to myself, 'I need to find my own voice.'"?

If Last Quarter Moon is an accurate indicator, she's found it—and in a big way. Excellent songwriting, superb musicianship, and a lovely voice should certainly put Civello on many playlists in the years to come.

Track Listing: Here Is Everything, The Wrong Goodbye, Ora, Caramel, Parole Incerte, Last Quarter Moon, Nature Song, In Questi Giorni, Sambaroma, Trouble, Outono, I Wont Run Away

Personnel: Chiara Civello, lead and backing vocals, shakers, vocal percussion and piano; Alain Mellet, piano, Fender Rhodes and melodica; Adam Rogers and Guilherme Monteiro, guitars; James Genus and Ben Street, bass; Clarence Penn, Dan Rieser, Steve Gadd and Paulo Braga, drums; Jamey Haddad, percussion and bells; Mark Stewart, cello; Miguel Zenon, alto saxophone; Alex Alvear, backing vocals and bass; Mike Mainieri, vibraphone; Rob Mounsey, keyboards; Larry Goldings, Hammond B3 organ on Last Quarter Moon

Record Label: Verve Music Group

Style: Vocal


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