Sleek and sophisticated, Jackie Messina's Necessary Arrangements proves a thoughtfully considered collection of standards, to be sure, but not the frontline warhorses one might expect. In addition to an inventive repertoire, vocalist Messina opts for a pared-down band with only a harmonica as a front solo instrument augmenting the classic piano trio. This format allows Messina's superb mezzo voice to be properly heard within the confines of these smartly selected songs. The project greatly benefits from the inclusion of pianist Bruce Barth, whose expansive piano palette provides Messina's deft arrangements a solid grounding.
This recording benefits from the spare simple, but elegant instrumental support. Cliff Barbaro's drumming is wonderfully understated, never getting in the way of the vocalist and Will Galison's harmonica as the sole melody and solo instrument adds a focus to the grace and thoughtfulness that went in to this collection. The repertoire is simply a celebration with the inclusion of "Inch Worm," "I Feel Pretty," and "Surrey with the Fringe on Top," all still fresh and not historically interpreted to death. The presentation of these minor standards can only be termed, "pristine" and "crystalline" as reflected in Messina's excellent delivery and musical arrangements. Good show, Jackie Messina...here's too many more!
Inchworm #1; I Feel Pretty #2; Easy Street #3; Wild Is The Wind:4; Quiet
Now #5; Little B's Poem #6; Surrey With the Fringe On the Top #7; I Believe
In You #8; I'm A Fool To Want You #9; Baltimore Oriole #10; Alfie #11; Slow,
Hot Wind #12; Show Me #13
Bruce Barth, piano; Will Galison, harmonica; Paul Beaudry, bass; Ed Howard,
bass; Cliff Barbaro, drums