Western New York denizen and vocalist, Michael Civisca, went to London, England for his fourth album. To say that this one is a departure from his previous release is an understatement. His last featured him in live performance with just a trio. This time out, he's accompanied by an orchestra of 80 musicians (!), replete with a large bevy of strings This album might be called the Musicians Relief Act of 2002. But there is lots of good news. The strings are not present on all tracks and when the group is unencumbered by violins, violas and celli, it and the singer swing up a storm. The best news is that Civisca is a fine singer with a great sense of timing and pace along with an intuitive, savior-faire feel for the music, making him a welcome addition to the male jazz/pop singers where fresh blood is desperately needed. From a mold similar to those that shaped the styles of Frank Sinatra and Bobby Darin, Civisca manages to have some fun with the lyrics much like Sinatra used to do. On "Please Don't Talk about Me When I'm Gone", he tells his detractor to "shut your mouth" if he/she can't say anything nice. The British musicians present are no slouches. There's a Don Fagerquist like lyrical trumpet noodling underneath on "Love Is Like a Breeze", a pleasant refrain composed by Civisca, as well as a good trombone solo on "I Wish You Love". It's on romantic ballads such as this one and "If I Ruled the World", where the strings come in and they do so tastefully. A nod to Charles Calello who conducted the large assembly, but most of all for his fresh, contemporary arrangements of familiar material.
Michael Civisca has a considerable set of chops making Love Is...Like a Breeze a welcome addition to the roster of highly listenable male vocalist albums. Recommended.
Personnel: Michael Civisca - Vocal; Charles Calello - Arranger/Conductor; 80 piece orchestra