On Swingin' with Legends 2, her fourth recorded collaboration with arranger (and husband) Ron Aprea's big band, vocalist Angela DeNiro sings beautifullyand receives a lot of help from her friends, especially guests Ken Peplowski on clarinet, Randy Brecker on trumpet and Lew Tabackin on tenor sax and flute. And what a band! Well-stocked with stars who are eager to fly whenever Aprea raises his baton.
Not that DeNiro needs much help. She is quite simply a marvelous singer with excellent range, splendid diction and obvious respect for a lyric. She also sings on key, and as for breath control, dig the final note on Burt Bacharach's "A House Is Not a Home." And she scats respectably too (in sync with the band on Rodgers and Hammerstein's "It Might as Well Be Spring," on which Tabackin solos on tenor). Ballads pose no problem, as DeNiro readily nails "My One and Only Love" and Henry Mancini's "Two for the Road"but it's clear that she and the band relish every opportunity to step on the gas and flat-out swing. For crystal-clear examples, look no further than "That Old Black Magic" or Cole Porter's "Easy to Love" (with Brecker on trumpet).
"On Green Dolphin Street" is another burner, encompassing one of alto Todd Bashore's heated solos (the others are on "Willow Weep for Me" and "For Phil," Aprea's clever tribute to the late alto giantand close friendPhil Woods). "For Phil" leads to the tender-hearted finale, "The Curtain Falls," a closing theme often used by Bobby Darin. Aprea employs only one soloist on each number. Besides Bashore and the band's guests, they include trumpeter Bryan Davis on the opening "New York Blues," "That Old Black Magic" and "Come in from the Rain"; trumpeter Chris Persad ("A House Is Not a Home"), bassist Tim Givens ("Don't Cha Go 'Way Mad") and trombonist Wayne Goodman ("My One and Only Love").
If this isn't the best vocalist-with-big band album of the year, it is definitely a close second. And the other one would have to be downright spectacular. DeNiro and Aprea's partnership is awesome, and Swingin' with Legends 2 shines brightly from every angle. In other words, a definite keeper.
New York City Blues: You'd Be So Easy to Love: Hello Young Lovers; A House Is Not a Home;
Willow Weep for Me; It
Might As Well Be Spring; Don't Cha Go Away Mad; Two for the Road; That Old Black Magic;
Come In From the Rain;
On Green Dolphin Street; My One and Only Love; For Phil; The Curtain Falls.
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