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Livia Devereux: Night Winds Whisper

Dan Bilawsky By

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Night Winds Whisper—clocking in at a mere twenty-five minutes—seems like more of a teaser than a full blown album, but vocalist Livia Devereux still manages to put her own stamp on some classics during this record's brief life span. One of the most intriguing aspects of Devereux's delivery is the way that she manages to infuse energy into material that is often placed in a different light. A case in point is her exuberant take on "Walkin' After Midnight" that opens the album. After a dreamy rubato introduction, with some shimmering piano work from Sarah Jane Cion, a brighter tempo comes into play. Devereux and saxophonist Ole Mathisen both have a snap in their step and radiate positive energy during this three-minute thrill ride.

"You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To" is buoyed by some horn background figures and the band kicks into a double time feel behind trumpeter John Walsh's solo. "Tonight"—with finger snaps and some supportive bass accompaniment—takes on a different tone than usual. The tense excitement that normally helps drive this song is absent here, but Devereux follows this perfomance up with a stunning take on "Welcome To My Love." Rosino Serrano's classy string arrangement is like a bed of clouds and pianist Robin Pitre adds just the right amount of romantic drama to this ballad. An uncredited string line moves against Cion's piano work during the introduction on "I Don't Hurt Anymore," but the focus shifts to Devereux. Trombonist Chris Washburne is an asset here, adding a good deal to this performance.

Serrano succeeds with another string arrangement on "Never Let Me Go"—making a few players sound as rich as a full orchestra—and the rhythm section creates the perfect feel. Devereux, unfortunately, seems to push a little too much here but she's back on her A-game for "You've Changed." Bassist Phil Palombi is the glue that holds this one together and his soloing—which matches the mood that Devereux sets up—is a real treat. "Come Rain Or Come Shine" ends the program and, though the rhythm section never really hits their stride, Cion gets a little solo space and keeps things interesting. In the end, Night Winds Whisper goes well beyond the muted tone of the title, giving Livia Devereux a chance to show off her vocal prowess through passionate renderings of Great American Songbook material.

Track Listing: Walkin' After Midnight; You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To; Tonight; Welcome To My Love; I Don't Hurt Anymore; Never Let Me Go; You've Changed; Come Rain Or Come Shine.

Personnel: Livia Devereux: vocals; Sarah Jane Cion: piano (1-3, 5, 7, 8); Phil Palombi: bass (1-3, 5, 7, 8); Kirk Devereux: drums (1-3, 5, 7, 8); Ole Mathisen: tenor saxophone (1, 2); Chris Washburne: trombone (2, 5); John Walsh: trumpet (2); Robin Pitre: piano (4, 6); Sami Merdinian: violin (4, 6); Sergio R. Reyes: violin (4, 6); Mark Holloway: viola (4, 6); Jisoo Ok: cello (4, 6); Brian McCormick: guitar (6); Michael Goetz: bass (6).

Title: Night Winds Whisper | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Self Produced

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