Roseanna Vitro: Following Her Muse
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 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'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 yet and I'd love to sing with Roy Haynes. I have sung with Ron Carter and that was really cool and, of course, Christian McBride, and I was thinking about Cyrus Chestnut 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," Vitro continues. "Monty and I are old friends from Bradley's. In fact, I used to have a crush on himoh my god, but I just had the biggest crush on him. He sat in with me once at the Jazz Standard and Bruce Barth 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 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," she says. "He seems kind of busy... and Mark Soskin [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.
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)
Page 3: John R. Fowler
Page 4: Courtesy of Roseanna Vitro
All Other Photos: John Abbot