She's been flirting with us, Judi Silvano has, these past few years. Her wordless vocalese on the Joe Lovano/Gunther Schuller masterpiece, Rush Hour ; and again on Joe Lovano's fine Celebrating Sinatra CD from '96; and more recently on James Emery's gorgeous and overlooked Fourth World. Great sounds, but sideperson roles; not enough of Judi Silvano.
The flirtation is not by design, though. She's given us our shot at romance with three memorable CDs of her own that somehow haven't gotten the audience they deserve, most recently with the near-perfect Songs I Wrote or Wish I Did" on JSL Records.
This time out Judi brings her three octave range, a free-flowing delivery, and the finest scatting skills out there to Riding a Zephyr, her collaboration with American expatriate composer/jazz legend Mal Waldron.
Waldron has written dozens of songs that have become jazz standards, and has worked with the bestBillie Holiday, Etta Jones, Abbey Lincolnand he continues to do so with this duo CD with Judi Silvano.
The duo setting suits Judi's vocal style well. The atmosphere is relaxed, with Waldron's piano work constructing some spare, skeletal (but structurally perfect) scaffoldings for the vocalist's free flung vocal style. The performancerecorded in just one four hour session, has that off-the-cuff, after hours feel, a couple of pro's getting together in the living room for a smoldering, low-key performance; after years of working toward their respective peaks of artistry.
Dark hues, minor keys, no specific highlights. The CD is a ten tune highlight. O.K., Waldron's classic "Soul Eyes" keeps getting the repeat button treatment. Also "A Time for Duke", that opens with some of Judi's beautiful trademark scatting.
Riding a Zephyr is a perfect follow-up and nice change of pace to Judi Silvano's "Songs I Wrote or Wish I Did". A long term flirtation blossoming in the direction of a love affair.