Carol Sudhalter: Shades of Carol (2005)
This beautifully orchestrated set showcases Carol Sudhalter, who plays saxophones and flute, in a compilation of four sessions with different musical groupings. It gets off to a jumping, upbeat start with Cedar Walton's "Firm Roots, immediately showing off her roots firmly in happy, mainstream swing, Andrea Torozzi's piano providing exhilarating company for the warm tenor sax.
What follows is a rarely heard beauty, Victor Young's "A Weaver of Dreams, on which Vittorio Sicbaldi's drums provide just the right amount of light seasoning, accentuating Sudhalter's own very appealing flight of fancy. On her own "Dry, Sudhalter plays a gentle, samba-like melody on flute which wafts as lightly as an ocean breeze on a warm summer day.
Of a pair of vocals with Martha J, the too-rarely-heard "Lotus Blossom (Strayhorn/Schore), a fine late-night lament, is especially welcome. Three tunes are performed by the Astoria Big Band, which Sudhalter founded in 1986. For this listener they're the highlight of the collection. This trifecta is made up of the old perennial "Lullaby of the Leaves, Monk's "In Walked Bud, and Frank Loesser's "On A Slow Boat to China. Sudhalter's flute is especially expressive on the Monk tune, while the orchestra and the fullbodied warmth of her baritone sax lends a depth to Loesser's pop tune, which is nothing less than transformational.
There's a spirited energy in the work here, which audiences have long enjoyed in this adopted New Yorker's performances. The tones and colors on Shades of Carol prove to be varied and inviting.
Track Listing: Firm Roots; A Weaver of Dreams; Dry; Fast; Soultrane; Youth; Lotus Blossom; Lullaby of the Leaves; In Walked Bud; On A Slow Boat to China; It's Time; On A Misty Night.
Personnel: Tracks 1,3,5,12: Carol Sudhalter: tenor saxophone, flute; Andrea Tarozzi: piano; Guido Giacomini: bass; Vittorio Sicbaldi: drums; Olivier Berney: trumpet; Track 4: Martha J.: vocals; Tore Spano: acoustic piano; Carol Sudhalter: flute; Track 7, Martha J.: vocals; Tore Spano: acoustic piano; Lucio Falco: double bass; Tracks 2,6,9,11: Carol Sudhalter: tenor saxophone, flute; Jack Davis: trombone (9,11); Bill Gerhardt: piano; Dve Ruffels: bass; Tootsie Bean: drums; Myrna Lake: vocals (9); Tracks 8,10: Carol Sudhalter: baritone saxophone and flute with Astoria Big Band; L. Presgrave: piano; W. Lin: bass; B. Martone: bass; T. Bean: drums; R. Stone: guitar; G. Petropoulos, L. Moses, S. Gluzband, A. Bavota, G. Gonzalez: trumpets; J. Davis, N. Mayland, W. Frazier: trombones; L. Caputo, S. Bielski: saxophones.