Vocal albums devoted completely to the music of Bill Evans are relatively rare. West Coast singer Karen Gallinger did one for Sea Breeze in 1999 and four years earlier, English singer/pianist Dominic Alldis did a credible tribute album. Roseanna Vitro, however, must rise to the top of the slim crop. First and foremost as a consummate jazz singer she has an unmatched feel for the music by a major influence on the development of modern jazz piano. Like Evan's piano, Vitro's instrument, her voice, has a special lyrical quality that fits well with the harmonies Evans was a master at creating. Her admiration and commitment to Evans' music comes through in every tune. Especially telling is her eloquent rendition of perhaps the best known of Evans' songs, Waltz for Debbie.
In addition, this album has the added advantage of pianists present who have named Evans as a major influence in their development, thus adding authenticity to the proceedings. Fred Hersch has done his own album honoring Evans. Then there's the presence of bassist Eddie Gomez who worked in Evans' trios during the 1960s and 70s. With his bowed and plucked bass, he makes a major contribution on "Very Early". The dominant lyricist for the material in the play list is, of course, Gene Lees. But there are fine contributions by Eleana Dee "Remembering the Rain", Carol Hall "Two Lonely People", Karen Gallinger "Funkallero" and two contributions by Roger Schore. In addition, the title tune is from the pen of Vitro, and the lyrics which are printed in the liner notes.
This album is the marriage of the best of two worlds, top flight Evans and top flight Vitro. Recommended. Visit Roseanna at http://members.aol.com/rvitrojazz/index.html.