Nancy Marano taps the best of both West and East players for her latest album. The West Coast contingent is led by the inestimable and undervalued Mile Melvoin. For the session 3,000 miles to the East, another under recognized pianist, Michael Abene takes the lead. Marano takes is on piano for two of the tunes.
Marano is a member of that distinguished group of distaff vocalists who are legitimate heiresses to Ella, Sarah, Jeri, Billie, Carmen, June, Julie and Jo, etc. With these singers gone, the jazz vocal fan should be grateful that the torch has been passed and accepted by quality vocalists like Marano. Most of the tunes here are romantic ballads. Some are classic and others are by contemporary composers, some of whose work is destined to gain a place in the Great American Popular Songbook, such as multi talented Alan Broadbent's "Heart's Desire". But this emphasis on the ballad form should not scare anyone. Marano uses great latitude in the way she approaches her music so that every offering refreshes. Her ability to change tonal qualities is evident, especially on "So in Love" where Marano adds her voice to the instrument section with a wordless vocal chorus. First rank trombone player John Mosca adds his slide artistry to make this a premiere track. Marano plays two instruments on "The Man I Love" her slow, sensuous scatting that melts into her piano. "My One and Only Love" can only be described as voluptuous. And so it goes with every cut, right to the aptly placed "Goodbye" as the closer.
Marano is extremely fortunate to find herself hooked up with Jim Merod's BluePort label which specializes in providing a friendly venue for good singers. Hopefully, this is just one of many to come. Get this one. Visit Nancy at www.showgigs.com/ nancymarano.
Track Listing: Very Close to Love*%**; My One and Only Love*; So in Love*%**; Sure Thing^; Thanks a Million^$@**; The Bad and the Beautiful^; The Night We Called it a Day*%**; Heart's Desire#; The Man I Love#; In April^$**; Easier to Say Goodbye^$; April in Paris^; Medley/Never Let Me Go/Goodbye^&**
Personnel: Nancy Marano - Vocals/Piano#; Michael Abene*, Mike Melvoin^ - Piano; Chuck Berghofer$, Michael Moore% - Bass; Grady Tate%, John Guerin@ - Drums; John Mosca - Trombone**
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.