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Calabria Foti: A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening

By Published: November 28, 2007

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.

CalabriaAAJ: 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.

Calabria Foti ><strong>AAJ:</strong> Is there any musician you would like to play with?<br /><br /><P><strong>CF:</strong> Of course! So many players, so little time. . . There are so many wonderful musicians in the world it would take all day to list them and talk about them. All I know is there is so much to learn and so many people to learn from and play with, and I hope I get to do half of what I dream about.<br /><br /><P><strong>AAJ:</strong> If you could bring a singer back to life who would you pick and why?<br /><br /><P><strong>CF:</strong> That's a tough question! [After some thought] How about Peggy Lee? She was a very sweet lady, and a good songwriter, too. Ella? I'd love to have a long conversation with her about scatting. Frank? No one delivered a song the way he did. We all miss him very much. Sammy Davis Jr... He put so much of his heart and soul into everything he did. He had such gusto for living, for his music and for entertaining his audience. I wish I could just see his act once more, watch him dance and do his show the way he did it so masterfully. Those folks were <em>artists</em>, man. You've got me in tears, here!<br /><br /><P><strong>AAJ:</strong> What projects do you have for your near future?<br /><br /><P><strong>CF:</strong> Oh, lots of things! I am working on material for my next CD, which will include at least a couple of my original songs. I'm also revisiting a record of lullabies, which I started a long time ago but never released. I'm writing a book, and there are some other things in development. I'll have to keep you posted on those. Please stay tuned... and visit the website for news and updates.<br /><br /><P><BR>Selected Discography <P> Calabria Foti, <em>A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening</em> (MoCo, 2007)<BR> Calabria Foti, <em>When a Woman Loves a Man</em> Faccia Bella, 2005)<br /><br /><P> <strong>Photo Credit</strong><BR> Courtesy of <a href= target=_blank>Calabria Foti</a>
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