123

Michelle Conte: Lucky Me!

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Michelle Conte: Lucky Me! It must be genetic, because there’s no doubt that musical talent runs in some families. The Joneses, the Heaths, the LaBarberas — and the Elfs (or should that be Elves?). Michelle Conte, whose brother is the well-known guitarist (and entrepreneur) Mark Elf, makes her recorded debut on Lucky Me!, and it’s hard to believe when listening to her that she (a) began singing seriously only a few years ago, and (b) is self-taught.

Like her brother, Michelle has a natural talent that serves her well on this easygoing and wholly enjoyable album of standards on which Mark (who doubled as producer) lends more than moral support, assuming a supporting role on almost every track and enlisting some of his talented friends to round out his sister’s stellar back-up crew.

Conte’s voice is bright and pleasing, she sings on-key, respects a lyric and charts a steady course, wisely leaving the improvisation to brother Mark and the others, none of whom lets her down. Pros like pianist Allen Farnham, reedman Walt Weiskopf, bassist Neal Minor and drummer John Wikan would give any singer a boost, and they do their part to enhance the album’s charisma. As for Conte, she seems perfectly at ease in the company of such heavyweights, belying her admission in the liner notes that she was “a little nervous.”

In fact, she sounds so happy to be there that it’s hard for her to assume a more sorrowful presence on such songs of loss and despair as “Lush Life” or “I Can’t Get Started.” But Conte gives them her best shot, as she does the happier tunes by such renowned composers as Jimmy van Heusen, Gus Kahn, Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Jule Styne, Harold Arlen, Sammy Cahn, Bobby Troup and Antonio Carlos Jobim and a couple that were new to me, “I’m Holding Out” and two takes of “Suddenly Spring.” The album cover shows a smiling Conte in front of a bed of four-leaf clovers, which is entirely appropriate, as she is indeed lucky to have a go-getter like brother Mark (who she says “is solely reponsible for making this project possible”) in her corner.

But luck can only open the door to success — it takes talent to keep it from slamming shut again. Luckily for Michelle Conte, she has plenty of that as well.

Contact: Jen Bay Records, P.O. Box 184, East Rockaway, NY 11518. Web site, www.jenbayjazz.com; e–mail jenbayjazz@earthlink.net or jenbayjazz@hotmail.com


Track Listing: I Thought About You; Lush Life; Makin

Personnel: Michelle Conte, vocals; Walt Weiskopf, tenor, soprano sax, flute; Mark Elf, guitar; Allen Farnham, piano; Neal Minor, bass; John Wikan, drums.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Jen Bay Records | Style: Vocal


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Tie the Stone to the Wheel" CD/LP/Track Review Tie the Stone to the Wheel
by John Eyles
Published: April 3, 2016
Read "Hand In Hand In The Hand Of The Moon" CD/LP/Track Review Hand In Hand In The Hand Of The Moon
by Budd Kopman
Published: May 24, 2016
Read "Pasar Klewer" CD/LP/Track Review Pasar Klewer
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "Prospect" CD/LP/Track Review Prospect
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 13, 2016
Read "Smooth Shake" CD/LP/Track Review Smooth Shake
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "Blue Canvas" CD/LP/Track Review Blue Canvas
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 4, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!