Calabria Foti: A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening
CF: It depends on the song and how it is treated, I think. I love great old tunes, I really do. I write my own songs but they're more "poppy not at all the same format as jazz standards. I love to do my originals, favorite standards, and introduce songs that are great but not as well-known. It's fun to do retro and modern stuff on the same program. It's all enjoyable.
AAJ: Also being a songwriter, why did you choose not to introduce your songs in this record?
CF:I have projects in the works which will include some of my own songs. But on this CD, I decided, as I did on my first record, When a Woman Loves a Man (Faccia Bella, 2005), to honor the great American songwriters and singers who made those songs famous. I did my own little twist on the charts, but I really wanted to pay homage, in my own way, to Gershwin, Porter, Coleman, Van Heusen, Styne. I hope I accomplished that goal.
AAJ: How do you perceive the evolution from your first CD to this one?
CF: My first record, When A Woman Loves A Man, was also a concept album, the arc of a relationship from beginning to end, while still paying tribute to the great singers who were my influences as a kid: Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Nancy Wilson, Judy Garland, Sarah Vaughan. As I've said, I like having a theme and a multi-layered approach to my recordings.
A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening explores an evening of romance from beginning to end. The songs on this CD cross over more from show tunes to edgy jazz and romantic ballads. There's a wider swath of styles on the new record. Both CDs are very lush and very jazzy at the same time, and they're both really nice records that I believe will hold up over time. The next one is just a bunch of great tunes . . . no theme.
AAJ: Having heard your CD, what can people expect from you in a live context?
CF: It depends on the venue. We're starting to do concerts with orchestras and strings, so those will be a sort of live recreation of the record. If I do a small group concert, then we do a variety of stuff, a lot of tunes which will include songs from the CDs and some of my own tunes. I don't like to be penned in musically; I like to keep the live gigs a little loose, try new things, and stay open to what I might want to do in the moment.