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Melani Skybell is a classically-trained pianist who always dreamed of singing. Four albums into that dream, she's shown herself to be a superb vocalist possessed of a warm and inviting tone with a bit of sass to itsort of a Nancy Wilson feline tang.
Just a Chase Away showcases not just her voice, but also Skybell's excellent songwriting skills. The disc opens with the title tune, which slips forward on a slinky groove that features a guitar, bass and drum rhythm section, as well as soulful tenor sax supplied by Peter Brewer. This is vocal jazz of a classic variety, with a wee hours feeling to it.
"Days Like This" features Skybell's horn-like delivery and some gorgeous piano/guitar interplay over a bossa rhythm. "Let's Get Away" features Peter Brewer on flute, and Skybell's laid-back, effortless-sounding (and if it sounds this easy, you know it isn't) lyric delivery.
Skybell brings two covers into the mix as well: Burke and Van Heusen's "It Could Happen to You," and Duke Ellington's "I'm Just a Lucky So and So," both done with a knowing aplomb. Skybell's "The Stars in Your Eyes," a highlight, rolls out on a floating groove that features some of her loveliest piano work of the set behind some of her most sensual singing.
Much of the atmosphere on Just a Chase Away leans in the bossa nova direction, making for a set that sustains a cool, relaxed mood marvelously, like a perfectly-paced show that draws you in to charm and seduce you. A truly fine vocal effort.
Track Listing: Just a Chase Away; Days Like this; Let's Get Away; The Stars in Your eyes; Dreamflight; It Could Happen to You; Simple Life Worth Living; The First Time; I'm Just a Lucky So and So; Nothing is Too Wonderful to Be True.
Personnel: Melani Skybell: piano, voice; Peter Brewer: saxophones, flute; Sam Walker: guitar; Kyp Green: bass; Roy Snodgrass: drums; Jorge Ginorio: percussion; Steve Browne: flugelhorn, percussion.
Year Released: 2007
| Record Label: Self Produced
| Style: Vocal
The best show I ever attended was going with my father to see Dizzy Gillespie play at the Royal Festival Hall in London, England. Dizzy was a man full of charisma and play. He managed to get four different sections of the audience to sing four different vocal parts in one song
The best show I ever attended was going with my father to see Dizzy Gillespie play at the Royal Festival Hall in London, England. Dizzy was a man full of charisma and play. He managed to get four different sections of the audience to sing four different vocal parts in one song. He captured everyone's attention and got us all up on our feet dancing alongside him to this incredible music we call jazz.