Vocalist Olivia Foschi joins a group of young singers intent on changing the jazz vocals landscape by framing standards in anything other than standard ways. Tierney Sutton is the leader of this new direction, followed by Gretchen Parlato, Jacqui Sutton, Laurie Antonioli and Renee Yoxon and Mark Ferguson. Using the standard acoustic jazz ensembles, these singers use thoughtful arrangements and unique instrumentation to color the time-tested songbook. Foschi brings her airy soprano and her rich vision to such a collection of standards and originals on Perennial Dreamer.
Foschi opens the disc with the standard "Here's That Rainy Day" establishing a light and swinging environment deepened by Gregoire Maret's lyrical harmonica imparting a pastoral hue to the piece. The rhythm-section arrangement is breezy without being free, intricately crocheted of finely-crafted note choice and harmonic augmentation. The song arrangement demonstrates the importance of Stevie Wonder to, not only pop music, but jazz and adult contemporary also, where he opened the harmonic palette, particularly using electric keyboards. Foschi incorporates these elements with a facile intelligence complementing her whimsical voice to great effect.
Personnel: Olivia Foschi: vocals; Miki Hayama: keys; Michael Olatuja: bass; David
Rosenthal: guitar; Ulysses Owens Jr.: drums; Gregoire Maret: harmonica; Mike Cottone:
flugelhorn; Stacy Dillard: tenor saxophone; Cory Pesaturo: accordion.
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.