Timbre, taste and time are three admittedly subjective considerations that resonate most with this listener, with respect to Jazz vocalists.
With Take The High Road, New York based Linda Ciofalo's sparkling clarity of tone, sensitive interpretation of lyrics and consistent ability to swing effortlessly, represent positive examples of these traits.
"You Do Something To Me", a seldom heard Cole Porter song, provides a spirited up-tempo opener. Her distinctly bright sound projects itself immediately, with swinging bass and guitar support.
Abby Lincoln's "Throw It Away", which is becoming a new standard, especially for female singers, has a lilting, blues-based feeling. Steve Salerno's compelling guitar solo helps sustain the groove.
Ciofalo's own original "Friday Night" fervently serves as a regretful warning about the dangers of married men. Wayne Schuster's searing saxophone and Mike Capobianco's organ-like keyboard establish a mood reminiscent of the '60s Soul-Jazz releases.
"My One And Only Love" showcases the pure, clear timbre of her voice. The tasteful delivery in a firm upper register evoke the memory of the recently departed Lorez Alexandria's classic 1964 treatment of this ballad on "Alexandria The Great".
Her rendition of another selection also on that 1964 recording, Lerner and Loewe's "Show Me", effectively captures the song's insistently demanding tone. It features a creatively arranged opening, where she lyrically repeats the phrase, "Here We Are Together In The Middle Of The Night" three times; with alluringly subtle differences each time.
The Gershwin brothers' "Someone To Watch Over Me" entices with a compelling verse, richly sung in a lower key, accompanied by exquisite piano backing. Her poignant plea culminates in an exceptionally well-modulated ending note.
Although this represents an initial solo recording, her many years of experience in a variety of bands, combined with more than sufficient range and power, facilitate her handling a broad range of music.
Linda Ciofalo is a name to watch.
Personnel: Linda Ciofalo - Vocals, Mike Capobianco - Piano, Steve Salerno - Guitar,Bass on track 7, Bill Mccrossen - Bass Guitar, Ken Rizzo Bass Guitar on Tracks 3 & 8 Ken Hassler - Drums, Percussion Robin Lobe - Percussion on track 7 Frank Bellucci - Drums on track 3 & 8 Wayne Schuster - Saxophone