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The Gabrielle Stravelli Trio: Beautiful Moons Ago

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The Gabrielle Stravelli Trio: Beautiful Moons Ago
In a world where heavily crafted narratives, thematic tie-ins and pointed productions are increasingly becoming the norm, it's a breath of fresh air to encounter a first-rate recording that's focused on music rather than messaging. Now that's not to say that vocalist Gabrielle Stravelli's longstanding trio with pianist Michael Kanan and bassist Pat O'Leary is without stories to tell. This is a seasoned outfit with plenty to say and share. But the tales these three weave together aren't grafted onto songs in some sort of bid for attention. Instead, they're naturally drawn from and embedded within the beauties they perform.

Setting up shop in Rudy Van Gelder's famed studio in New Jersey on Independence Day in 2023, Stravelli and friends settled into a comfortable two days of music-making that resulted in this delightful dozen—11 pieces sourced from the Great American Songbook and jazz-adjacent areas plus one sly original titled "Messin' Around." Starting with several infrequently encountered winners, the mood is largely relaxed. Stravelli's honeyed words, sung over O'Leary's supportive walking on Walter Donaldson and Harold Adamson's "Did I Remember," are charismatic as can be; love is in the pre-summer air on Abe Baer and Cliff Friend's inviting "June Night"; and Kanan's comping and soloing are pure perfection on Jule Styne and Leo Robin's sparkling (and better known) "You Say You Care." Easygoing and elegant, that stretch sets the tone for the entire date.

Recherché repertoire absolutely suits Stravelli, and vice versa, but the same can be said for choice classics. The trio demonstrates wonderful interpretative powers in officiating over the marriage of Billy Strayhorn and John Latouche's woolgathering "Day Dream" to Nacio Herb Brown and Gus Kahn's lightly swinging "You Stepped Out of a Dream," smiles brightly during its lively look at George and Ira Gershwin's "They All Laughed" and exits on a patient stroll through Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh's "I Walk A Little Faster." With a working relationship running more than twelve years (and counting), this document of the Stravelli-Kanan-O'Leary partnership arrives much later than it should have. But it was well worth the wait. Beautiful Moons Ago is brimming with beauty.

Track Listing

Did I Remember; June Night; You Say You Care; That Ole Devil Called Love; Messin’ Around; So Far So Good; Day Dream / You Stepped Out Of A Dream; With the Wind and the Rain in Your Hair; Let’s Begin/ I’m Beginning To See The Light; Beautiful Moons Ago; They All Laughed; I Walk A Little Faster.

Personnel

Album information

Title: Beautiful Moons Ago | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Big Modern Music


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