Foreign Affair is Laurie Antonioli's debut as a solo artist, although she has appeared on record with artists such as George Cables and Joe Bonner. Antonioli is a musical singer gifted with a flexible, darkish voice and soulful, natural phrasingand as witnessed on this record, she has surrounded her attractive vocal stylings with fairly interesting, though at times restrained and minimalistic arrangements.
Throughout this record Antonioli's vocals direct and steer the musings of the supporting band, which consists of bassist Nenad Vasilic, guitarist Armend Xhaferi, drummer John Hollenbeck, and saxophonist Johannes Enders. The album is memorable mostly for slow and contemplative tracks like the opening "Ballad For Djole," "Holy Water," "I Know You," and "Mayana," while Enders' saxophone further enhances the album's overall moody emotions throughout. The opener is a slow track written by bassist Nenad Vasilic where a light, smooth feel blends with Antonioli's smoky vocals. "Tsuchusch Chochek" is a swinging piece with repetitive melodies where she seems inspired by the band to fully demonstrate her vocal possibilities. Her compelling, emotional performance on the final track, "Music Box," makes for a poignant duet with Enders' soprano sax.
One would usually expect obvious references to Balkanesque melodies or rhythms from someone who originates from this region (since Antonioli's origins are in Montenegro). However, these influences are more sublime and deep, rather than ready-made or stereotypical. Antonioli's passsionate and soulful performances reveal an artist who is not afraid to stray away on occasion from the classical vocal jazz tradition in order to deliver performances that are accessible and enjoyable.
Track Listing: Ballad For Djole; Holy Water; Where Flamingos Fly; Tschusch Chochek; I Know You; Mayana; Crni Narcis; The Cure; Music Box
Personnel: Laurie Antonioli-vocals; Nenad Vasilic-bass; Johannes Enders-saxophone; John Hollenbeck-drums; Armend Xhaferi-guitar
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.