All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Live Reviews

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Gabrielle Stravelli at The 75 Club

Tyran Grillo By

Sign in to view read count
Gabrielle Stravelli
The 75 Club
New York, NY
December 18, 2017

Jazz vocalist Gabrielle Stravelli's third album, Dream Ago, was the core subject of an intimate performance at The 75 Club, welcoming to her stage pianist Art Hirahara, bassist Pat O'Leary, and drummer Rob Garcia, and where she proved that having fun needn't mean skimping on rigor. From her delectable original "Cake of My Childhood" to Cole Porter's "Dream Dancing" (seamlessly arranged by O'Leary), the positive vibrations of Stravelli's musical mind activated the room with their inspiration. Not ones to ignore such a gift of opportunity, her backing musicians picked up on every cue—both spoken and unspoken—toward deepening the groove of the moment. This was especially true of Hirahara, who in his solos unpacked a vast array of colors from monochromatic themes. O'Leary, for his part, oared a distinctly melodic undercurrent, while Garcia moved through every change with shine and pizzazz. But nothing put their leader's chops on more artful display than "Little Zochee." For this reimagined O'Leary tune, originally recorded in 1985 and featuring the late Tom Chapin on flute, Stravelli composed a vocalese around Chapin's solo to scintillating effect. With flawless intonation and rhythmic boldness, she bounced through every twist and turn on the heels of a smile, as also in her own "Prism."

The hour-long set also included a song that never made it to the album: "Whistling Away the Dark." Written by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer for the 1970 film Darling Lili, the painterly demands of this haunting number were dutifully met, making it a highlight of the evening. Further cinematic delights awaited in Hoagy Carmichael's "Baltimore Oriole," a sultry ditty meant to be a theme of sorts for Lauren Bacall in 1944's To Have and Have Not.

But it was the set's opener, old standard from the 20s called "'Deed I Do," that readily showed Stravelli's instrument to be a winning combination of fire and water. Her rendition of "A Beautiful Friendship" (a song made famous by Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole) found gorgeous life in duet with O'Leary. The biggest surprises, however, were two Willie Nelson songs that are a prelude to Stravelli's forthcoming project. First was the almost-bluesy "Three Days," from Nelson's 1962 ...And Then I Wrote, followed by "Butterfly," a dreamlike country ballad written on the wind of his 2017 album, God's Problem Child. For icing, Stravelli encored with "Sleigh Ride," jingle bells and all.

Just as entertaining as Stravelli's delivery were her tales of traveling the world as a US State Department Jazz Ambassador, influences of which have funneled into her songwriting, and by extension confirmed her abilities as a listener. It's no small feat to stand tall when everything feels like its crumbling around us, but she does so with openness of heart, welcoming you home, as if since many dreams ago.


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Tallinn Music Week 2018 Live Reviews
Tallinn Music Week 2018
by Henning Bolte
Published: April 19, 2018
Read James Blood Ulmer and the Thing at Bochum Art Museum Live Reviews
James Blood Ulmer and the Thing at Bochum Art Museum
by Phillip Woolever
Published: April 17, 2018
Read Jocelyn Medina at Jazz at Kitano Live Reviews
Jocelyn Medina at Jazz at Kitano
by Tyran Grillo
Published: April 16, 2018
Read Marbin at The Firmament Live Reviews
Marbin at The Firmament
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 15, 2018
Read Big Ears Festival 2018 Live Reviews
Big Ears Festival 2018
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 13, 2018
Read Meg Morley Trio at 606 Club Live Reviews
Meg Morley Trio at 606 Club
by Gareth Thomas
Published: April 13, 2018
Read "Vossajazz 2017" Live Reviews Vossajazz 2017
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "Anat Cohen Tentet at SFJAZZ" Live Reviews Anat Cohen Tentet at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: December 16, 2017
Read "Sur Ecoute at The Bronx Bar & 'Cue" Live Reviews Sur Ecoute at The Bronx Bar & 'Cue
by Barry Witherden
Published: March 1, 2018
Read "James Mahone at SFJAZZ" Live Reviews James Mahone at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: November 26, 2017
Read "Lila Downs at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn" Live Reviews Lila Downs at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn
by Ernest Barteldes
Published: July 9, 2017