335

Denise Donatelli: In The Company of Friends

Craig Jolley By

Sign in to view read count
Everything about In The Company of Friends is first class. For one thing, there is a sense of balance: between comfortable material and challenging reinvention, between brilliantly conceived arrangements (never cluttered) and sparse backgrounds, between ensemble playing and soloing, between singer and accompanist. Each tune is a fresh scenario with its own message, especially in the rhythm department. I've been playing the CD over and over since I got it, and I'm still not tired of it.

Denise Donatelli moved to Los Angeles recently from Atlanta. This is her first CD, and it came out of a working relationship with Tom Garvin. Her natural sound is out of the classic tradition of interpreting lyrics, but she sings about life in the new millennium. I cringed when I noticed yet another "Send in the Clowns, but it turned out to be my favorite cut. Instead of treating it as a dramatic showstopper, Donatelli and Garvin give it a subversive feel, possibly not far from Sondheim's original intent, with Donatelli floating wonderfully over the insistent rhythm and bending notes for meaning.

There is also humor (the broader variety) in "A Roarin' Borin' Alice, a Dave Frishberg-like original by Garvin and Pat Cooper. "If You Could See Me Now, a contrast to the ironic feel of some songs, features intimate storyteller Donatelli in a three-way dialog with Garvin and Brian Scanlon. A completely overhauled "Green Dolphin Street over a simmering modern tango rhythm is maybe the most interesting piece musically, with a new harmonic scheme and frequent key changes. An up-tempo "Dream Dancing also has a Latin backdrop, more evolved than the usual Cole Porter bolero, and there's a hint of "Pent-up House. Donatelli's marvelous sense of swing is front and center on "This is New, a cut that also features burning solos by Clay Jenkins and Bob Sheppard. She creatively recomposes the melody on a blues-tinged "Sleepin' Bee, generating some tension and urgency in the process.

The band, premier musicians all, plays with particular conviction and crispness. There are no throwaway solos.

The CD release party is set for July 13 at Catalina's with the entire band.

Visit Denise Donatelli on the web.


Track Listing: On Green Dolphin Street, The Thrill Is Gone, Round Midnight, You Don't Know What Love Is, A Sleepin' Bee, Send In The Clowns, This Is New, If You Could See Me Now, Dream Dancing, A Roarin' Borin' Alice, When Summer Turns to Snow

Personnel: Denise Donatelli - vocals, Tom Garvin - piano/arranger, Clay Jenkins - trumpet, Bob Sheppard - reeds, Andy Martin - trombone, Tom Peterson -tenor, Brian Scanlon -alto flute, Peter Woodford - guitar, Tom Warrington - bass, Steve Houghton - drums, Brian Kilgore -percussion.

Title: In The Company of Friends | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Jazzed Media


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read No Answer CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Bright Yellow with Bass CD/LP/Track Review Bright Yellow with Bass
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 18, 2017
Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read "Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31" CD/LP/Track Review Buer: Book Of Angels Volume 31
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "All You Gotta Do" CD/LP/Track Review All You Gotta Do
by Doug Collette
Published: September 16, 2017
Read "The Catfish" CD/LP/Track Review The Catfish
by Chris Mosey
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Lingo" CD/LP/Track Review Lingo
by Paul Rauch
Published: January 10, 2017
Read "Hot Coffey in the D – Burnin' at Morey Baker’s Showplace Lounge" CD/LP/Track Review Hot Coffey in the D – Burnin' at Morey...
by Doug Collette
Published: January 15, 2017
Read "New Life" CD/LP/Track Review New Life
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 25, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.