Linda Ciofalo's Sun Set has connected all the dots to make for an impressive listening experience. Starting with a conceptsongs with the word "sun" in the title, or sun-relatedthe package offers an eclectic collection of selections, innovative arrangements and performances by an engaging vocalist with major chops and choice instrumentalists: John di Martino (piano), John Hart (guitar), Marcus McLaurine (bass), Joel Frahm (sax) and Matt Wilson (drums).
Ciofalo's vocal clarity is refreshing and she knows what to do with her instrument. She can deliver a ballad reading with warmth, but also has enough of an edge to swing when necessary. The opening track, "Oh! What A Beautiful Morning," features Ciofalo's vocal floating over a 6/8 tempo accompanied by Frahm's fills. On "You Took Advantage of Me," Ciofalo swings, backed only by Wilson's wonderful hand drumming, and a straightforward reading of George Harrison's "Here Comes The Sun" takes us back to Beatletime. Another interesting material choice is a lovely and haunting reading of "Love Is Stronger Far Than We" from the film A Man and A Woman.
There is something to be said for every track. The players are well-attuned to each other and comprise a tight ensemble. Di Martino's piano work is outstanding; his harmonies and ability to play exactly what needs to be played behind a vocalist well on display. Frahm also delivers, wailing on his "Summertime" solo and also on "Midnight Sun." Hart has some shining moments on guitar and McLaurine's solid bass work throughout completes the picture. But, most of all, this is a vocalist's album and Ciofalo shows off her talent from start to finish. The CD bears more than one listening to discover all of its pleasurable dimensions.
Track Listing: Oh! What A Beautiful Morning; You Took Advantage Of Me; Orange Blossoms In Summertime; Here Comes The Sun; Comes Love; Love Is Stronger Far Than We; La Isla Bonita; I'll Follow The Sun; Midnight Sun; Lazy Afternoon; Blame It On The Sun; The Last Day Of Summer.
Personnel: Linda Ciofalo: vocals; John di Martino: piano; John Hart: guitar; Marcus McLaurine: bass; Joel Frahm: sax; Matt Wilson: drums.
Year Released: 2007
| Record Label: Lucky Jazz
| Style: Vocal
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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