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Roseanna Vitro: Listen Here

C. Michael Bailey By

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Roseanna Vitro: Listen Here
Roseanna Vitro is a singer's singer in the same way as Sarah Vaughan and Carmen McRae. She is a studied practitioner of the jazz vocal arts, an interpreter, performer, educator. Her repertoire, taste, and vocal chops are beyond compare. Vitro's ability has evolved horizontally and vertically over 14 recordings and nearly 40 years. The singer's most recent release, Tell Me The Truth (Skyline, 2018), was thematically devoted to the rich music of the American South where Vitro capably migrates from Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son" to Patsy Cline's "Walkin' After Midnight" at seamless lightspeed, approaching the pan-genre command of a Ray Charles or Van Morrison.

Vitro has a knack for assembling cogently themed projects, as indicated by: Catching Some Rays: The Music of Ray Charles (Telarc, 1997); The Time of My Life: Roseanna Vitro Sings the Songs of Steve Allen (Seabreeze, 1999); Conviction: Thoughts of Bill Evans (A Records, 2001); The Delirium Blues Project: Serve or Suffer (Half Note Records, 2008); The Music of Randy Newman (Motema, 2011); and Clarity: Music of Clare Fischer (Random Act, 2014). That is an impressive resume. And, like all resumes, it all had to start somewhere. That somewhere was Listen Here.

In 2021, Vitro enjoys the rare honor of having her debut recording re-issued (and for the first time available in CD format, at that). Originally released in 1982 on the Texas Rose Music label, Listen Here was an event where significant stars aligned: first, Vitro emerges, fully formed and in complete control, and second, with the support of pianist Kenny Barron (on all but one selection) and his classic trio with bassist Buster Williams and drummer Ben Riley. Vitro's recent vocal and creative capabilities have deepened in their burnished performance. However, on Listen Here we are treated to a freshly precocious talent struggling to break its temporal confines. Vitro's singing possesses a muscularity, command, and assertiveness that was an envy of more seasoned performers at the time..

Vitro, with producer-husband Paul Wickliffe, programmed a dozen standard selections more imaginable than the majority of related recordings. The single song with pianist Bliss Rodriguez, Harry Edison's "Centerpiece" (with Jon Hendricks' lyrics), gives Vitro her showcase: a blues on which the singer blows out the carbon with vamp and circumstance, belting the lyrics with a robust con brio. She reprises this same sonic image on the disc closer "Black Coffee," nearly spitting out the sardonic lyrics by the coda. Her readings of standards "You Go To My Head" and "You Took Advantage Of Me" show Vitro's sure footing in the Great American Songbook. The singer updates Duke Ellington's "Love You Madly" with a wholesome youthfulness that is infectious, while driving Jobim's "No More Blues" as fast as she can. Listen Here justifies the existence of art.

Track Listing

No More Blues; You Go To My Head; Centerpiece; Love You Madly; A time For Love; This Happy Madness; Listen Here; It Could Happen To You; Easy Street; Sometime Ago; You Took Advantage of Me; Black Coffee.

Personnel

Roseanna Vitro: voice / vocals; Kenny Barron: piano; Buster Williams: bass; Ben Riley: drums; Arnett Cobb: saxophone, tenor; Bliss Rodriguez: piano; Scott Hardy: guitar; Duduka Da Fonseca: drums.

Album information

Title: Listen Here | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Skyline Records

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