In the tradition of Jeri Southern, Sarah Vaughan, Shirley Horn, and most recently, Diane Krall, Pennsylvania-based Donna Antonow is an accomplished pianist as well as a vocalist having a unique way with a song. But the comparison with these divas ends there. Antonow's vocal style owes a lot more to such R & B artists as Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder, with a hit of the pop-soul feel of Diana Ross. If anyone has a doubt of this leaning, just listen to Antonow's handling of "Memphis in June" where with her high-pitched voice she simply oozes soul. Antonow could just as well be singing a gospel tune as this 1945 song written for the movie Johnny Angel. She is also willing to take a chance or two, molding the chordal structure and lyrics to fit the way she sees the song which, of course, is the essence of jazz. Most will have to look twice at the play list to see if "Someday My Prince Will Come" is really the tune Antonow is singing. She reworks the melody line when she sings, but refers to it during her piano bridge between choruses. A very nice touch indeed that she pulls off with aplomb. A good deal of valuable help is provided by top ranked bassist Michael Moore, who is a steadfast anchor throughout. His arco opening on a lovely "April Love" allows the singer to float in over the bass lines. He then turns in a tender pizzicato solo following Antonow's first chorus. Drummer Glenn Davis, who has worked with Marian McPartland and Sonny Stitt, appropriately offers muffled percussive support. He does get solo time on "Bye Bye Blackbird".
While Antonow may owe a lot to Franklin, et. al. her rendition of "One Morning in May" recalls both Sheila Jordan and Blossom Dearie in her butterfly hovering, breathy delivery. Featuring a vocal original style coupled with superb backing makes it easy to recommend this album without qualification.
Personnel: Donna Antonow - Vocal/Piano; Michael Moore - Bass; Glenn Davis - Drums/Percussion; Bill Washer* - Guitar