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The Redhead Records release Hearts places singer Maye Cavallaro in a challengingly minimalist setting. Accompanied by guitarist Mimi Fox, as well as Paul McCandless on reeds and Ian Dogole on percussion, Cavallaro offers 12 tracks, each a personnel rendition of standards ranging from Ellington to Paul Simon.
Mimi Fox’s versatile and expressive guitar work buoys the entire album, supporting the pared down arrangements and Cavallaro’s theatrical interpretations. Fox’s talents, however, can only mitigate against Cavallaro’s average range and poor phrasing so much. With the notable exception of the Latin-tinged title track, “Hearts,” those who know these tunes well will be disappointed by Cavallaro’s treatments. Particularly painful is hearing Costello’s brilliant “Almost Blue” drained of all color by poor phrasing and an overdramatic reading.
Cavallaro fares better with more accompaniment, the percussion on Simon’s “Under African Skies” contextualizing Cavallaro’s folkish approach, but her scat work on Ellington’s “Beginning to See the Light” comes off worse than conventional: it sounds stiltedly rehearsed.
Overall, a dreary compilation, Cavallaro’s sound seems more suited to the theatrical stage than the studio, often making one think of blush Zinfandel rather than straight whiskey or champagne.
Track Listing: Nothin' But the Blues; Peace; Almost Blue; Hearts; I'm Beginning to See the Light; Only Trust Your
Heart; Under African Skies; Daydream; Don?t Get Around Much Anymore; Save Your Love for Me;
Spring Is Here; Till There Was You (49:13).
Personnel: Maye Cavallaro, vocals; Mimi Fox, guitars; Paul McCandless, reeds; Ian Dogole, percussion.