On The Nearness of You (Self Produced, 2006), vocalist Sarah DeLeo exhibited her diaphanous, spherical voice on a collection of off-the-beaten path standards, all well suited to her most welcome, conservative vocal style.
She does not veer far from this approach on I'm In Heaven Tonight, again choosing songs that have not been thoroughly worn out by the constant deluge of jazz vocal releases. DeLeo's support on this disc is a quilt of instrument combinations rooted in the trio of guitarist Chris Bergson, bassist Gary Wang, and drummer/percussionist Mark Bordenet.
The disc opens with the early pop-rock title "Rockin' Robin," which DeLeo treats as a swinging show tune. Brian Charette's organ provides a guitar-organ trio vibe that never accumulates much grease.
But this is not DeLeo's way. She only seems to want to provide a hint that contributes to the smart ambiance of the recording. This may be the most out-of-place song in the set, but it nevertheless attracts attention.
The trilogy of "No Moon at All," "On the Street Where You Live" and "Stolen Moments" is the balancing fulcrum upon which the total disc sets. DeLeo's delivery is low-key, amplifying the pure quality of her voice. Fabio Morgera's playing on "On The Street Where You Live" (as well as on title tune and "Let It Rain") proves the Italian trumpeter to be an excellent accompanist to DeLeo. Reedsman Jay Collins provides support on Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments" and "You're Getting to be a Habit with Me," appropriately filling out DeLeo's band.
I'm In Heaven Tonight is an eclectic offering from a talented vocalist. DeLeo never oversteps her ability, thereby providing a satisfying collection of songs that otherwise might receive too little attention in mainstream jazz vocals.
Track Listing: Rockin' Robin; I Feel Pretty; I'm in Heaven Tonight; No Moon at All; On the Street Where You Live; Stolen Moments; Let It Rain; In the Cold, Cold Night; Sometimes I'm Happy; You're Getting to Be a Habit With Me.
Personnel: Sarah DeLeo: vocals; Chris Bergson: guitar (1, 2, 4-7, 10); Mark Bordenet: percussion; Brian Charette: organ (1, 2, 4-6); Jay Collins: saxophone and flute (1, 6, 7, 10); David Cook: piano (3, 7, 9, 10); Fabio Morgera: trumpet (3, 5, 7); Gary Wang: bass (3, 7-10).