It's surprising to hear the debut of a mature vocalist, gifted with a deep and expressive voice, only to find that she is but 21 years old and wrote most of the songs on My Reflection
. Italian vocalist Andrea Celeste began studying piano and classical singing at the age of eleven, and was later trained in gospel choirs and seminars by American singer Cheryl Porter. My Reflection
was recorded in 2007 with some of Italy's finest jazz musicians.
The songs, in English, deal with some of the most banal aspects of love and relationships, more with the peaks than the valleys. Celeste sings with wise and elegant phrasing and a warm and expressive voice, portraying an innocent belief in the power of the romantic word. Her ability to entrust herself fully in the hands of her accompanying musicians, wins attention time after time. Robero "Robbo" Vigo's wise production spices each song with new color, mainly by adding new musicians to the core trio of pianist Gianluca Tagliazucchi, bassist Dino Cerruti and drummer Rodolfo Cervettoheard on "I Don't Wanna Play This Game," where Massimo Currò's guitar adds a relaxed and breezy touch, not far from the sound of Pat Metheny.
Celeste's readings of the Gershwin brothers' standard "It Ain't Necessarily So" and Jimmy Dorsey's "I'm Glad There Is You" are masterful. Accompanied by pianist Dado Moroni and bassist Pietro Leveratto on the former and pianist Andrea Pozza on the latter, Celeste opts for a straightforward approach to singing the words, knowing that her strong voice is enough to carry the lyrics and nothing more is needed beyond a minimalist sketching of the melody. She resurrects Sting's "Seven Days" with beautiful and playful phrasing, recalling Sting's ability to write intelligent lyrics.
Celeste manages to sound far too optimistic for someone her age on her original tracksthe lovely opener, "Real," that resurfaces in a slightly different version as a hidden bonus track; the more meditative "A Thought Away" and "There's No Other Place," both aided by Robero Izzo's folksy violin; and the believable sadness conveyed in "You Say Goodbye." Throughout, Celeste's voice is captivating, conveying a wide spectrum of colors and shades, with an assured vocal command and elegant presentation.
Personnel: Andrea Celeste: vocals; Gianluca Tagliazucchi: piano; Dino Cerruti: double-bass; Rodolfo Cervetto: drums; Dado Moroni: piano; Andrea Pozza: piano; Enzo Zirelli: drums; Ricardo Fioravant: double-bass; Pietro Leveratto; double-bass; Stefano Cabrera: cello: Roberto Izzo: violin; GNU Quartet: Marco Moro: bass flute; Massimo Curr