Melissa Stylianou Quartet Jazz Standard New York, NY April 3, 2012
During the second set of Toronto-born Melissa Stylianou's CD release event for Silent Movie (Anzic, 2012) at New York's Jazz Standard, the vocalist kicked things off with a rendition of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "It Might As Well Be Spring," played at a slow tempo and showcasing guitarist Pete McCann
, bassist Gary Wong and drummer Mike Ferber who, with the exception of Ferber, all played on the album. Stylianou then presented the title track, an original composition co-written with Reynolds. The tune featured guest saxophonist/clarinetist Anat Cohen
, who took the ballad in a bluesy direction with her nuanced improvisations.
Among the highlights from the set was the band's treatment of singer/songwriter James Taylor's early hit, "Something In The Way She Moves." While McCann approached it with a finger-picking style similar to what can be heard on Taylor's original recording, the band took the tune in more of a slow-jazz direction, thus creating an intriguing sonic blend. Also notable was her take on Cat Stevens' "Ruby Love," featuring McCann on mandolin and the bandleader on ukulele. It was a fun moment with a Mediterranean feel that allowed Cohen to perform an accomplished solo on soprano saxophone with a Klezmer-like sound.
Another memorable moment came with a rendition of Tom Ze's Portuguese-language "Menina Amanha de Manha," a baiao (a syncopated rhythm from Northeastern Brazil) with nonsensical lyrics that gave both Ferber and guest percussionist James Shipp to stand out and exercise their dexterity.