Colorado native Wendy Fopeano's second album brings together two studio sessions recorded in 1995 and 1998. Fopeano is one of several outstanding jazz artists living and performing in and around the Rocky Mountain State. Others include wunderkind pianist A. J. Salas, veteran guitarist Jerry Hahn, trumpet player Bob Montgomery and singer Ellen Rucker, to name just a few.
Fopeano certainly belongs in this select group with her clear as a bell soprano, delicate and impeccable phrasing and diction. Taking on a diverse play list of entries from the Great American Songbook, jazz classics, adult pop and some original material, she and her confreres on this album provide more than an hour of pleasant and interesting listening, without making the music and its performance more challenging than it need be. "Beautiful Love", written for the 1944 film Sing a Jingle displays Fopeano's versatility. Fopeano takes risks by sometimes abandoning the melody and by scatting intelligently where she vocally infiltrates the instrumental members of the group. The obligatory Latin tune is present withJobim's "Chega de Saudade", better known as "No More Blues" which was given prominence by Susannah McCorkle. One of the more interesting cuts is Pat Metheny's "Always" and Forever in My Mind" to which Fopeano has added lyrics making Metheney's composition much more attractive than it is without words. Dwight Kilian's guitar like bass adds a tasteful touch of melodic meandering which enhances this track considerably. "As One" is a bit overdone for my taste, sounding more like heavy German lieder than popular music. But she is lucky to have a pianist of Lande's skill and experience on board. He has performed with such notables such as Gary Peacock as well as having several albums of his own, mostly for the label ECM label. The others appearing with Fopeano, while not as well known as Lande, perform with distinction.
>P>The only concern, and it is a minor one, is that the up tempo pieces tend to be a little frantic, like everyone is trying too hard. Nonetheless, this is a good second effort and is recommended.
Personnel: Wendy Fopeano - Vocals; Art Lande - Piano; Dwight Kilian - Bass; Jill Frederickson - Drums