It's A Good Day is pianist/vocalist Patti Wicks' follow-up to her 2007 The Italian Sessions and her 2005 Basic Feeling. On both of these recordings, Wicks employs the Italian rhythm section of bassist Giovanni Sanguineti and drummer Giovanni Guillino. If three times is a charm, then It's A Good Day has much to live up to.
Happily, this disc fares well in comparison to the two earlier releases. Wicks if found in very good voice, plunging her deep alto deeper into the Great American songbook. These 12 selections run the gamut of a ballads previously unheard in Wicks' repertoire. Wicks inaugurates this recital with the standard "Everything Happens to Me." Wicks' interprets the Bill Evans-favourite with candour, not far from what Evans himself used to do. That alone may be Wicks' greatest reward as a jazz singer/pianist and ours in the bargain.
"I Didn't Know What Time it Was" showcases Wicks' conversational approach to jazz vocals, a kind of Shirley Horn and Anita O'Day rolled into one. Her piano playing is superb and has improved with every record. Although she often plays with Basie-like economy she breaks out sometimes and may do a Tatumesque turn or two. But Wicks cannot really be boxed into a style. She proves this with a very slow "Giant Steps" in a manner one would expect Red Garland to have performed the Coltrane classic had that two-fisted, block-chorded Texan played it at cocktail hour.
"I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance" and "My Romance" truly showcase Patti Wicks. They prove that she is an unparalleled interpreter of ballads. The former also showcases her smoky vocals, while the piano accompaniment features a lot of space. The latter is simply a tour de force of her considerable piano skills.
With bassist Giovanni Sanguineti and drummer Giovanni Guillino, Patti Wicks has built a cohesive band that continues to serve her well. It's A Good Day joins Rebecca Parris' My Foolish Heart (Koch, 2003) as one of the finest ballad recordings available.
Everything Happens to Me; I Didn't Know What Time It Was; Giant Steps; He's a Tramp; I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You; I Believe in You; I Wish You Love; My Romance; Canto Triste; Easy to Love; Once in a While; It's a Good Day.
Patti Wicks: piano, vocals; Giovanni Sanguineti: bass; Giovanni Guillino: drums.
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