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Interviews

Roseanna Vitro: Following Her Muse

By Published: August 1, 2011
These choices, whether conventional or left of center, have served Vitro well throughout her career and the future seems full of possibilities. "I don't know what I'm going to do next," Vitro notes, "but I'm thinking of a quintet record that's a sister of Passion Dance. I'm really thinking I want to go back. I don't want the straight-ahead jazzers to think, in anyway, because I have roots in rock and pop and all the different music I love, that I am not always working on my jazz chops. That's where I think I'm going for the next record. I also have an album of Kenny Werner
Kenny Werner
Kenny Werner
b.1951
piano
and I, just doing piano and voice. We went to the studio and recorded about twenty songs. We did really some unusual songs again. I sang "Pensitiva," which really doesn't have any vocal versions out there. Cedar Walton
Cedar Walton
Cedar Walton
1934 - 2013
piano
's "Midnight Waltz," for which I just perfected the lyrics. I hope to always reconnect with Kenny throughout our lives. When I first moved to New York and I asked everybody, 'Who are the greatest young piano players,' they said 'Fred Hersch and Kenny Werner,' and, so, my plot began."

While Vitro has already recorded with a long list of jazz luminaries, she still admits that there are some musicians she'd love to work with in the future. "Absolutely," she begins. "I will always have my dreams. I haven't recorded with Lewis Nash
Lewis Nash
Lewis Nash
b.1958
drums
yet and I'd love to sing with Roy Haynes
Roy Haynes
Roy Haynes
b.1926
drums
. I have sung with Ron Carter
Ron Carter
Ron Carter
b.1937
bass
and that was really cool and, of course, Christian McBride
Christian McBride
Christian McBride
b.1972
bass
, and I was thinking about Cyrus Chestnut
Cyrus Chestnut
Cyrus Chestnut
b.1963
piano
recently. I love his crazy versatility. He's really got that gospel-bluesy thing, it's really under there, and I think there might be something there for us, working together.

"And I'd like to make a record with Monty Alexander
Monty Alexander
Monty Alexander
b.1944
piano
," Vitro continues. "Monty and I are old friends from Bradley's. In fact, I used to have a crush on him—oh my god, but I just had the biggest crush on him. He sat in with me once at the Jazz Standard and Bruce Barth
Bruce Barth
Bruce Barth
b.1958
piano
was on piano, and, of course, Bruce is great, and I had my wonderful group, but when Monty sat in, the swing level went to some kind of crazy swing meter. And I love that he doesn't read music. I love it, and he's certainly a dying breed, and I'm not advocating musicians not reading music, but he just learns so much by ear, and his swing meter and his spiritual side, his heart and his spirit is always in there, and I love that about Monty, so I would love to do a swing record with Monty."

Bassist Rufus Reid
Rufus Reid
Rufus Reid
b.1944
bass, acoustic
also comes up as a strong choice on Vitro's list. "That's right, and I love Rufus," she notes. "When I did some gigs with Rufus, he said, 'Don't you sing anything that doesn't have lyrics?,' and I said, 'Well, I'm kind of a lyric singer, but I do like scatting melodies,' so he got me thinking about that," Vitro states.

When it comes to horn players, Vitro has an equally superb musician on her wish list, which speaks to her taste and class. "I'd like to sing with Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
b.1930
saxophone
," she says. "He seems kind of busy... and Mark Soskin
Mark Soskin
Mark Soskin
b.1953
piano
[pianist on The Music Of Randy Newman] has recently done some gigs with Sonny again, and we love to hear his stories about playing with Sonny. You know, I always say, 'If you're going to dream, dream big.'"

But Vitro's talents speak to reality, not dreams. Vitro's voice tells stories in expert fashion and strikes to the very heart of every song that she sings, regardless of style. She has carved her own path that continues to serve her well as she follows her muse to some marvelous, and unexpected destinations.


Selected Discography

Roseanna Vitro, The Music Of Randy Newman (Motéma, 2011)
Roseanna Vitro, Live At The Kennedy Center (Challenge, 2006)
Roseanna Vitro, Catchin' Some Rays: The Music Of Ray Charles (Telarc, 1997)
Roseanna Vitro, Passion Dance (Telarc, 1995)
Roseanna Vitro, Softly (Concord, 1993)

Photo Credits
Page 3: John R. Fowler
Page 4: Courtesy of Roseanna Vitro
Roseanna Vitro
Roseanna Vitro
b.1954
vocalist

All Other Photos: John Abbot


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