Calabria Foti: When a Woman Loves a Man
On When A Woman Loves A Man, Foti communicates each tune's emotional essence without resorting to pretentious histrionics. Strings enhance three of the ballads, which bring to mind Linda Ronstandt's collaborations with Nelson Riddle. In fact, Foti's voice is somewhat similar to Ronstadt's, but with the timbre and control of a superior jazz stylist. The arrangements (by Foti and pianist Matt Harris) are tasteful, and include some smart solos. Foti plays violin on a lush version of "All The Way," while Christlieb again proves himself one of the most underrated tenor saxmen in jazz.
The most breathtaking track here is a tender treatment of Rogers and Hammerstein's "This Nearly Was Mine," which begins with Foti singing over Harris' soft piano before violins sweep in subtly. Up-tempo numbers like "I Hadn't Anyone 'Til You" and "A Fine Romance" swing with easy grace and some heady bop touches. Bassist Trey Henry and drummer Ray Brinker shine on a sensual version of "Fever."
Though it's not as slick a production, When A Woman Lives A Man is comparable to Natalie Cole's Unforgettable and Linda Ronstadt’s What’s New. The choice of material is similar, as are the romantic atmospherics and classy execution. With her bright, limber voice, Calabria Foti deserves widespread attention.
Record Label: Faccia Bella Records