Lucianne Evans & Tom Coppola: Hold Back the Rain
Although living and performing in the lovely North Carolina mountain city of Asheville, vocalist Lucianne Evans and pianist Tom Coppola had to travel to Brooklyn, NY to make their first studio recording at Michael Brorby's studio. Like so many other of today's aspiring jazz artists, this is a self-produced album. I wish I could report that the outcome is a resounding, unqualified success. Instead, the results are mixed.
With a program of five up tempo pieces, three Latin tunes with Latin rhythms and four ballads including one original (the title tune), vocalist Lucianne Evans moves back and forth between straight singing and vocalese, sometimes within the same song as on "I'm in the Mood for Love". Her vocalese is put on best display as she sings along with a couple of solos culled from performances by famous jazz stars of the past, Erroll Garner and Miles Davis. The Garner tune is "Where or When" which he played on his most famous recording, Concert by the Sea. The Davis material comes with "I Fall in Love Too Easily" where she inserts her own lyrics on top the trumpet solo on "Seven Steps to Heaven". The former comes off better than the latter. One of the better tracks is a plaintive version of "Darn That Dream". Ralph Hamperian contributes a nice plucked bass solo here.
The rest of the tracks are not strikingly memorable. Evans has a high pitched voice with a slight nasal twang to it. She clearly articulates the lyrics and is very earnest in her style and delivery. To my ear, she seems most at ease on the ballad mode. On the upper tempo material she sounds agitated. Tom Coppola's piano accompaniment fits Evans' singing like a favorite, comfortable slipper as one would expect given their long association. This album is pleasant enough, but not outstanding.
Track Listing: Where or When*; Flamingo*; Hold Back the Rain**; East of the Sun (and West of the Moon); Lullaby of the Leaves**; Darn That Dream*; Old Devil Moon*; I Fall in Love too Easily*; How Little We Know*; Luz Do Sol**; Medley*: I'm in the Mood for Love/Moody's Mood for Love; I'll Be Seeing You*
Personnel: Lucianne Evans - Vocals; Tom Coppola - Piano; Drori Mondlak*, Paulo Braga** -Drums: Ralph Hamperian, Leo Traversa** - Bass; Caf