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Denise Mangiardi: Fine Tuning

Jack Bowers By

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This is an earlier release (recorded about three years ago) by vocalist Denise Mangiardi, whose more recent River of My Own we reviewed in November. Again, it consists primarily of her own compositions (eight of eleven) and again, Mangiardi’s lyrics are on the whole inscrutable (at least, to this listener; others may find them easily comprehensible). The melodies on which they rest are well–constructed but unremarkable. Same can be said of Mangiardi’s vocals. The voice is clear but generic, the intonation true, the diction sometimes less than passable, with clarity sacrificed in favor of an inclination to sound hip and bluesy. Well, she is a Jazz singer, so that’s understandable. Mangiardi has surrounded herself with an array of topnotch musicians who lend excellent support (wonderful blowing by tenor Rebholz and trumpeter Olstad on “440 Tenth Avenue,” gently swirling cascades from guitarist Masakowski on the closing duet “2–Remily,” for example). That last, by the way, is one of Mangiardi’s most affecting verses, a warmhearted tribute to a friend, guitarist Emily Remler, who died far too young. The three songs that Mangiardi didn’t write are Dinah Washington’s “Love Me with Misery,” Jeff Meyer’s “Red Giant,” and the traditional Scottish ballad “The Water’s Wide,” none of which prompts one’s ardor. When all is said and done, there’s simply nothing here that would set Mangiardi apart from so many other aspiring singer/songwriters in an already overcrowded sphere.

Contact: Denise Mangiardi, Crow Hill Publishing, P.O. Box 1124, Bailey, CO 80421–1124 (phone 303–838–7047; fax 303–816–0387).

Track listing: Fine Tuning; Go Home; 440 Tenth Avenue; Angel T’s Waltz; The Water’s Wide; No Hurricane Blues; Red Giant; Peeling Sticks; Love Me with Misery; For a Jump; 2–Remily (54:45).

Collective personnel: Denise Mangiardi, vocals; Michael Pellera, Eric Gunnison, piano; James Singleton, Mark Simon, bass; John Vidacovich, Mike Marlier, drums; Eric Traub, tenor sax; Bob Rebholz, soprano, tenor sax; Peter Olstad, trumpet, flugelhorn; Gregory Boyd, percussion; Steve Masakowski, guitar.


Title: Fine Tuning | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: Crow Hill


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