Judi Silvano & The Zephyr Band: Lessons Learned

Jerome Wilson By

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Judi Silvano is a vocalist, singer and artist who has been around for some time, long enough to look back over her life and create this set of songs which reflect on her experiences and accumulated knowledge. Her music here contains elements of jazz, rock and other genres with a heavy reliance on guitars, both the straight ahead sound of Kenny Wessel and the more processed and altered work of Bruce Arnold. It's also enhanced by occasional injections of saxophone and bass clarinet.

SIlvano's voice is mature, rich and melodic and she displays it in all sorts of arrangements. "You Will Know" is a subtle bossa nova carried along by smeary guitar lines. "Hand and Heart" is a ballad sung soothingly over a thick blanket of processed guitars and tenor sax. "Dark Things," a song about uncertainty, has a turbulent, choppy melody Silvano attacks enthusiastically and is highlighted by Adam Kolker's booming bass clarinet and Arnold's searing rock guitar solo. "After Love" is a sensual tango that features seductive bass clarinet and tight, springy guitar chords.

Silvano's producer and husband, a fellow named Joe Lovano, stops by to blow tenor on two tracks. He adds percolating life to the circular calypso groove of "Dust," wriggling alongside Silvano's twisting scat lines and Wessel's curling guitar. He's also a big part of the epic-length "Riding A Zephyr," playing a beautiful, impassioned solo against a gentle tumble of windswept guitar noises and slowly tumbling drums while Silvano croons some of her most impressive singing on the album.

Other highlights abound. "Shuffle and Sway" is a funky Second Line rumba about losing weight which includes dancing soprano from Kolker and burrowing rock guitar, "Castle Song" is a slow, waltzing love song with the guitars billowing underneath a mellow, graceful vocal and "The Music's In My Body" is an aggressive rock-based track with Silvano, Ratzo Harris and Meyer chopping the beat at a brisk pace while Wessel and Arnold go on a spiralling Allman Brothers-style two guitar solo.

This record is full of energy and joy. Judi Silvano presents her life lessons as stimulating, happy music and her musical partners bring flexibility and imagination to her songs' eclectic settings, with Arnold's and Wessel's intermingled guitars a consistent highlight. This is fun stuff from a singer who should be more celebrated.

Track Listing: Round and Round; You Will Know; Dark Things; Castle Song; Dust; Hand and Heart; After Love; Shuffle and Sway; Riding a Zephyr; The Music's In My Body.

Personnel: Judi Silvano: voice; Kenny Wessel: guitar; Bruce Arnold: processed guitar; Adam Kolker: bass clarinet, soprano sax, tenor sax; Joe Lovano: tenor sax (5,9); Ratzo B. Harris: bass; Bob Meyer, drums; Todd Isler: percussion.

Title: Lessons Learned | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Unit Records


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