Poetry of Love
is an unabashedly—and surprisingly satisfying—sensual experience. Seducing the listener with her husky, alluring voice and subtle readings, Hagenbach invites listeners to participate in a maturely romantic meditation. While no individual selection represents the height of experiment or the epitome of stylization, Hagenbach succeeds where many other performers fail, sustaining a focused mood throughout the album.
Opening with a slightly hip-hop tinged, bossa based piece, “Tell Me About It,” Hagenbach demonstrates her ability to establish a contemporary feel without diverging too dramatically from the jazz forms and styles she explores more aggressively on the album’s subsequent tracks. Focused on the power of lyrics, Hagenbach relies more on sensitive interpretation and depth of material than musical and vocal gymnastics. This approach finds its most expressive moment with “Bittersweet,” a poignant endeavor built around a beautifully reflective lyric combining two Schoer poems.
On the album’s other standout piece, “Blues are Brewin’,” together with trumpet legend Clark Terry and guitar great Russel Malone, Hagenbach creates a classically structured blues dialogue. The collective conversation is full of humor, wit and feeling and reveals the importantance of powerful backing musicians to a vocalist’s success. Hagenbach works well with some of the most versatile and distinctive instrumentalists on the scene. Other tunes of note include the brooding “Dark Dreams,” and the silky, swinging “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.”
Supported by intelligent arrangements and a cadre of skilled musicians, Hagenbach offers with Poetry of Love a rich blend of vocal skill and musical styles. Open the Courvoisier and serve with candlelight.
Personnel: Angela Hagenbach: Vocal;
Clark Terry: Trumpet and Mumbles;
Doug Auwarter: Drums and Percussion;
Jake Blanton: Guitar;
Don Braden: Tenor Sax;
Cecil Brooks III: Drums;
Dwayne Burno: Bass;
Rod Fleeman: Guitar;
Jimmy Heath: Tenor sax;
Gary Helm: ercussion
Russel Malone: Guitar;
Steve Rigazzi: Acoustic guitar and electic bass;
Paul Smith: Piano;
Roger Wilder: Piano, synthesizer;
James Williams: Piano.