How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
In October 2004, Anna Maria Flechero released her debut, Journey Into The Fourteenth Hour (Self Published), marking her comeback to the music scene after confronting a family crisis which detoured a promising musical journey that included leading her own Latin jazz ensemble and performing as a solo artist in Japan with the legendary pianist Cedar Walton. Within The Fourteenth Hour is follow-up and continues her musical voyage with a bang.
Don't be fooled by Flechero's name and her progression into the Latin jazz genre earlier in her career. Anna Maria Flechero is not Hispanic; in fact, her lineage is from both African-American and Filipino heritages and she has a vocal style that resembles the great Sarah Vaughan without the same reach and range. While her first album contained original music and touched on Latin jazz rhythms, this recording presents ten well-known pop and jazz standards capped off by one original, "Pretty Soon."
Flechero is also reunited with Cedar Walton and his trio of bassist David Williams and drummer Lewis Nash, who perform on Erroll Garner/Johnny Burke's "Misty," and the classic Billie Holiday tune "God Bless The Child." Once described as a "modern day blues singer" by the San Francisco Chronicle, Flechero turned to jazz upon the advice of Walton who convinced her that she had the potential of being a jazz singer.
Elsewhere, Flechero assembles other first-rate players, who provide stunning support. Saxophonist Melecio Magdaluyo is just superb, making an immediate impression on "What A Difference A Day Makes." Other players helping to make this one very jazzy album are guitarist Tim Landis and Jeffery Chin on Fender Rhodes.
The vocal arrangements are quite unique as Flechero turns in a dynamite performance on such tunes as "Autumn Leaves," "My Funny Valentine" and an excellent Latin jazz take of the Lennon/McCarthy number "And I Love Her (Him)" featuring the light percussion of Karl Perazzo.
Those looking for a pleasing light jazz vocal album will find that Within The Fourteenth Hour will more than do the trick. The music is charming, the musicians exemplary and Anna Maria Flechero, soulful and distinguishing.
Track Listing: Misty; What A Difference A Day Makes; The Look of Love; God Bless The Child; Autumn Leaves; Summertime; I Wish You Love; Feel Like Making Love; My Funny Valentine; And I Love Her(Him); Pretty Soon.
Personnel: Anna Maria Flechero: vocals; Cedar Walton: piano (1, 4); David Williams: bass (1, 4); Lewis Nash: drums (1, 4); Jeffrey Chin: Fender Rhodes (2, 3, 5-11); Tim Landis: guitar (3, 5, 6, 8, 11); Ron Smith: guitar (2, 9); Nelson Braxton: bass (2, 3, 5-7, 9, 11); Ron Belcher: bass (8, 10); Billy Johnson: drums (2, 3, 6); Rob Rhodes: drums (5, 7); Marc Lee: drums (8, 10); Joel Smith: drums (11); Melicio Magdaluyo: tenor saxophone (2, 3, 5, 6, 8, ); Karl Perazzo: percussion (2, 3, 6, 8, 10, ); Ben Heveroh: percussion (11).