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Meredith D'Ambrosio: Love Is for the Birds (2002)

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Meredith D'Ambrosio: Love Is for the Birds No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

If the course of time is a major factor in determining the success and long term popularity of an entertainer, then vocalist Meredith D'Ambrosio has graduated Summa Cum Laude. Love Is For the Birds is the singer's 14th album for the Sunnyside label. Yet her first recording was for an outfit called Spring, cut in 1978, more than 24 years ago. She is at a point of her career when she can be exceedingly discerning in picking the contents of her play list. (Even in her teeth cutting days, she did not engage in that knee jerk reaction of relying solely on standards for her material). With each succeeding release, the play list becomes more varied in style and content, more cosmopolitan and perhaps more obscure in the sense of being secluded. With her latest, she makes a major shift going from songs written by others to an agenda of her works, written be herself, with others, or her lyrics added to classics written by consummate artists such as Harold Land and Kenny Dorham. Dorham, always undervalued as a writer, is responsible for one of the most engaging tracks on the album, "Rhyme of Spring (Poetic Spring)" with words added and airily sung by D'Ambrosio. This track also features outstanding trading of ideas between Don Sickler and Bob Kindred on trumpet and tenor respectively, with bass interlude by the ubiquitous Jay Leonhart.

Another feature of D'Ambrosio's albums, especially those for Sunnyside, is the close rapport between her and her band and how the latter sustains the mood of the former. Take "Just a Dream {Falando de Orlando}" where Kindred's levitating flute sustains the floating approach taken by the singer with this tune. The session is not all melancholy by any means. D'Ambrosio puts on hew swinging shoes for such cuts as "Cup of Life (Cup Bearers)", again with some outstanding ensemble and solo work by the members of the band. The critical task of piano accompanist has been assigned to Lee Musiker and with excellent results. Musiker, who has backed Barbara Cook, Susannah McCorkle and Mark Murphy, is right at home here. Another very good effort by a true artist of the vocal craft. Recommended.

Visit D'Ambrosio at www.meredithdambrosio.com where you will also see many examples of her of paintings.

Track Listing: Cup of Life (Cup Bearer); Steppenwolf; Rhyme of Spring (Poetic Spring); Valentine; That Magic Rapture (Rapture); I May Be the One; Don't Go (Josephine); Tell this Poor Fool; Just a Dream (Falando de Orlando); Love Is for the Birds; Beloved (Daahoud); Blame It All on Spring; Frishberg and Dorough.

Personnel: Meredith D'Ambrosio - Vocal; Lee Musiker - Piano; Jay Leonhart - Bass; Joe Ascione - Drums; Don Sickler - Trumpet/Flugelhorn; John Allred - Trombone; Bob Kindred - Flute/Tenor Sax

Record Label: Sunnyside Records

Style: Vocal


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