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Golden Thread is a winning combination of Melissa Sweeney's vocals and pianist/arranger Bill Cunliffe's contributions as chief architect.
This project alternates between lush string arrangements with Cunliffe's piano and jazz nonet accompanyment. Sweeney begins with a thoughtfully included verse on the Clare-Gorney standard "You Are My Thrill" [sic]. Cunliffe and Sweeney cop the Nina Simone arrangement of "My Baby Just Cares." When the track begins with that Basie-like piano vamp, one's reaction is to start toe-tapping and finger-popping. I view this offering as an homage, not an imitation, and it is nice to hear again. Trombonist George Bohanon gets in some good licks also.
Joni Mitchell's "Sex Kills," an unusual jazz adaptation, works aided by Rob Lockart's tenor sax and Cunliffe's slinky solo. The juxtaposition of those dramatic lyrics and the opening notes of the Rodgers and Hammerstein song "I Have Dreamed," done with strings, provides a contrast from meaningful contemporary issues to a burnished love story from the Great American Songbook. Gabriel Faure's classical "Pavane" is presented with French lyrics and Jobim's "Viva Sonhando" (also known in English as "Dreamer") is borrowed from the Getz Gilberto recording in Portuguese with scatting. Several more standards conclude with a rarely covered version of Paul Simon's "Where I Belong."
Featuring two Melissa Sweeney originals, the collaboration with Bill Cunliffe continues with Golden Thread. We have also been promised another new album before the close of 2005.
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; Darek Oles or Tom Warrington, bass; John Chiodini, guitar; Ricky Woodard, Rob Lockhart, Bob Sheppard, sax; Joe LaBarbera, drums; Paulinho Da Costa, percussion; John Yoakum, Brian Scanlon, woodwinds; John Mason, French Horn; Peter Kent, concertmaster; Amy Shulman, harp.
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop. But nothing has touched my artistic sensiblities like JAZZ! Two years ago I moved to Sarasota, FL where I renewed my focus on my singing career and I was so impressed with the quality, quantity and generousity of talented jazz musicains in the Suncoast area. I soon partnered with piano legend Billy Marcus and his trio with Don Mopsick and Stephen Bucholtz. What a blast working with these guys and having them back me up on my first jaz album, Here's To You... which was just released on October 1st. I can't wait to see where the coming year brings me! Check out syniacarrolljazz.com