Angela DeNiro: My Shining Hour (2005)
How is it that scintillating jazz vocalists such as Angela DeNiro can go unnoticed? This is her third album already, and she's still at that "getting acquainted" phase of her career. With a warm delivery, convincing demeanor, and a valuable musical depth in her voice, DeNiro interprets her program of originals and standards with loving care. Everything's personal. The bandleader is her husband, and their son Matt sits in on violin.
Spouses Ron Aprea and Angela DeNiro co-hosted a weekly jazz radio show on WSHR-FM in New York for two years. Together, they featured the music of legendary artists from the jazz community along with sterling interviews. They've performed with the best. Just four years ago, DeNiro won first prize on BET-TV's Jazz Discovery program.
With My Shining Hour, the singer is due for wider visibility. The album captures her heartfelt spirit and parades her musical talents for all to enjoy. The program begins with the title track, which features trumpeters Don Sickler and Mike Carubia and trombonist Scott Whitfield backing the vocalist in a bouncy big band arrangement. Like a Basie adventure, the arrangement carries them across decades of jazz territory.
"Surrey with the Fringe on Top" follows with a lovely lyric interpretation punctuated by Cecilia Coleman's hard bop piano interlude. The mood swells significantly. DeNiro and Aprea follow with a stirring unison passage: she as scat vocalist and he on flute. Together, they fold in tradition with a musical freshness.
Aprea's tribute to Phil Woods, "For Phil," features quaint lyrics over a bossa nova aura, as well as Aprea's sensual alto saxophone solo stretch. He's captured the straight-ahead bop essence perfectly, while she's honored the artist through a storyteller's vocal interpretation. She and Scott Whitfield sing "Joy Spring" with the kind of warmth that Clifford Brown espoused, while the band surrounds them with swinging fun. Their vocalese captures the moment.
"Satchmo's Samba" allows DeNiro the freedom to run with a lyric in high gear. Aprea lends a powerful alto saxophone solo that raises the intensity level considerably. Together, they drive straight ahead enthusiastically.
With strings, the vocalist slows for meaningful ballads like "Someone to Watch Over Me," which celebrate her "shining hour" from a contrasting perspective. Whether persuading through a heartfelt ballad mood or romping through a driving vocalese adventure, Angela DeNiro gives a highly recommended performance that's certainly deserving of much wider recognition. It's about time.
Visit Angela DeNiro on the web for mp3 samples and more.
Track Listing: My Shining Hour; Surrey with the Fringe on Top; For Phil; Spring Medley (It Might as Well Be Spring/Joy Spring); Sometime Ago; Easy to Love; Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye; All the Things You Are;Someone to Watch Over Me; Maybe You'll See Me; Satchmo's Samba.
Personnel: Angela DeNiro: vocals; Ron Aprea: alto saxophone, flute; Cecilia Coleman: piano; Tim Givens: bass; Jim Young: drums; George Hooks: percussion, drums on "Satchmo's Samba;" Don Sickler, Mike Carubia: trumpet; Scott Whitfield: trombone, vocal on "Joy Spring;" Batya MacAdam-Somer, Margie Janke, Matt Aprea: violin; David Medine: viola; Jessie Marino, Jason Mooney: cello.