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Elizabeth Tombulian: Love's in Need of Love Today

Nicholas F. Mondello By

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By the third track on Elizabeth Tomboulian's Love's in Need of Love Today , you discover three observations: that the album is probably going to be a rainbow of diverse grooves and textures; that Tomboulian is definitely adept at all of them; and that she takes great joy in doing so.

The eleven tracks cover a wide—and in some cases, surprising—array. Three are a conjoining of two tunes from antipodal poles of the genre spectrum. It's risky but Tomboulian and crew make it work. The other tracks, each distinct in genre to the others, sparkle in their own light. That may be due to Tomboulian's rather nomadic career, performing around the entire country. She is a vocalizing example of "been there and done that."

Tomboulian has fine pipes (and piano and guitar skills) and is stylistically appropriate in all the different genres. She covers the 'Nawlins-flavored opener, "Exactly Like You" and later wails blue-funky on "Good Old Wagon." Of particular interest is the Tomboulians' rendition of Thelonious Monk's "Nutty" paired with "If I Love Again." It's a Jackie Cain and Roy Kral bossa clone before it breaks out into a straight-ahead swinger with some nice back-forth scatting with bassist, Cliff Schmitt and drummer, Alvester Garnett's drums. "Person I Knew/Time After Time" (the Cyndi Lauper hit) is covered straight and has trumpeter Ingrid Jensen backing Tomboulian on Harmon. Her addition adds fine textures to the tracks on which she appears ("For Tomorrow"). "For What It's Worth," the old Buffalo Springfield hit, is married to Cannonball Adderley's classic, "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy." It's an odd, yet poignant nuptial. "I Get Along Without You Very Well" is darker and somewhat somber. The vocalist's original, "Cheesy," is a throwback of sorts with C&W overtones.

Tomboulian's voice tends lighter rather than lower and darker. Her pitch sense and lyric interpretation are excellent ("Love's in Need of Love Today," "Tristez De Amar"). She's no belter, but, you sense she could be if needed. The rhythm section—which includes pianist husband Lee—is adaptable to all the material and supports her superbly.

This is an eclectic album that's a showcase for a fine artist. It is not a production where "all's-to-the-wall" to see if anything "sticks." There's nothing revolutionary, just some fine singing and playing—something we all might need today and tomorrow.

Track Listing: Exactly Like You; Re: Person I Knew/Time After Time; Nutty/If I Love Again; For Tomorrow (Tomorrow Never Comes); Ballad of the Snow Leopard and the Tanqueray Cowboy; Tristeza De Amar; Good Old Wagon; I Get along Without You Very Well; Love's in Need of Love Today; Cheesy; For What It's Worth/Mercy, Mercy, Mercy (Love Wins).

Personnel: Elizabeth Tomboulian: vocals, piano (5, 8, 10), guitar (7, 11); Lee Tomboulian: piano (1-4, 6, 7, 9, 11); Cliff Schmitt: bass; Alvester Garnett: drums; Ingrid Jensen: trumpet and flugelhorn (2, 4, 6, 11); Roseanna Vitro: vocals (9).

Title: Love's in Need of Love Today | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Quantumstarsong

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