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Melissa Sweeney: Golden Thread

Dan McClenaghan By

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The lady, Melissa Sweeney, has a voice, warm, rich-toned, mature; and she had a childhood that sounds like heaven—a "record fiend" mother who provided her with the sounds of Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Nat King Cole, MJQ, Ella, Anita O'Day; and then a tender-age job at KBIG-FM jazz station in Los Angeles and the access to thousands of promo copies of jazz LPs. A voice, a feeling for the history of jazz, and the savy/good fortune of hooking up with pianist Bill Cunliffe as arranger/producer of her debut disc, Golden Thread.

The set opens with "You're My Thrill," lushly-arranged, with a Lady in Satin atmosphere. The arrangements on Golden Thread alternate between classy string treatments including "You're My Thrill," to a jazzier piano/bass/drums trio with great horn solos on several tunes, including the marvelous rendition of Joni Mitchell's "Sex Kills", with the Rob Lockart's saxophone smoldering around Sweeney's telling of Mitchell's dark tale.

"My Baby Just Cares" has the sparer arrangement, an insouciant bounce, the trombone dancing with Sweeney's vocal in front of the sparkle of Cunliffe's piano work. Hoagy Carmichael's "Skylark" rolls along in a relaxed mode, with drummer Joe La Barbera providing some beautifully subtle brushwork.

The set has standards, a Brazilian sound (the Jobim/Gilberto tune "Vivo Sonhando"), French lyrics ("Pavane"), and first-rate pop songs ("Sex Kills and Paul Simon's "Where I Belong"), wrapped in classy arrangements with a gorgeous voice out front.

Visit Melissa Sweeney on the web.

Track Listing: You Are My Thrill, My Baby Just Cares. Golden Thread, Sex Kills, I Have Dreamed, Skylark, Pavane, Sweet Lorraine, Viva Sonhando, Why Don't You Do Right, Where I Belong

Personnel: Melissa Sweeney--vocals; Bill Cunliffe--piano and arrangements; George Bohanon--trombone solo; Joe La Barbera--drums; Derek Oles and Tom Warrington--bass; John Chiodini--guitar; Paulino DaCosta--percussion; Ricky Woodard, Rob Lockart, Bob shepard--sax solos; John Yoakum, Brian Scanlon--woodwinds; John Mascon--French horn; Peter Kent--concertmaster; Amy Schulman--harp

Title: Golden Thread | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Azica Records


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