San Francisco native and Rome-educated Olivia Foschi is a sophisticated, urbane singer whose debut album Perennial Dreamer
is a testament to her mature and worldly outlook. Surrounded by an energetic group of individualistic and trailblazing instrumentalists, Foschi presents a heady mix of original compositions, Italian ballads and jazz standards. Thanks primarily to her rich, smoky voice and sublime, expressive phrasing, this variety remains engaging without sacrificing thematic unity.
Much like legendary vocalist Billie Holiday
, Foschi personalizes the interpretation of each tune. On "Everything Happens to Me," her lilting intonations undulate over the Samba-inspired beats of her rhythm section. Harmonica player Gregoire Maret
's mellifluous and elegiac solo imbues the track with a folkish ambience. "Alone Together," on the other hand, becomes a rollicking, blues-inflected workout. Keyboardist Miki Hayama
's soulful piano lines and bassist Michael Olatuja
's loosely swinging and laid-back groove frame Foschi's flirtatious singing and refreshingly creative scatting.
An adroit songwriter, Foschi's "Daydreamer" matches her passionate and sensual delivery with trumpeter Mike Cottone
's mellow and meandering flugelhorn. The suave and moody piece is wistfully ethereal with an undercurrent of thrillingly dark poetry. Meanwhile, the haunting, multilayered "Legend of the Purple Valley" opens with her lyrical and evocative vocals over guitarist David Rosenthal's gently reverberating nylon strings. It progresses to a rock and roll anthem showcasing Rosenthal's blistering electric duet with Olatuja's cooler, earthier tones. On the intricate "Bridge," Foschi demonstrates her spontaneous creativity as the saxophone-like agility of her singing perfectly complements tenorist Stacy Dillard
's full-bodied, vibrato-filled improvisation.
Finally, on "Donna," Foschi's Italian vocals unfurl daintily over producer and drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr.
Jr's rumbling beats and flow along accordionist Cory Pesaturo
's energetic and effervescent melody.Perennial Dreamer
makes clear that Foschi, far from just another female singer, is an artist with an elegant style and distinct musical vision. This delightful record whets the appetite for what is yet to come from this unique artist.
Here's That Rainy Day; I Adore You; Disillusionment; Everything Happens to Me; Daydream;
Alone Together; Bridge; Legend of the Purple Valley; A Gramadora; No Moon At All; My Ideal;
Donna; Secrecy and Lies.
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.