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Angela DeNiro with the Ron Aprea Big Band: Swingin' with Legends 2

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Angela DeNiro with the Ron Aprea Big Band: Swingin' with Legends 2
Swingin' with Legends 2 from Angela DeNiro with the Ron Aprea Big Band, is a follow-up to their first Legends effort in 1988. The album, as was its Grammy-entered predecessor, is a quintessentially classic big band recording featuring a fine female vocalist. The fourteen tunes here are predominantly from the Great American Songbook, with jazz greats Randy Brecker, Lew Tabackin, and Ken Peplowski delivering outstanding cameos.

The opener "New York Blues" is a flat-out swinger with DeNiro belting over the blazing band. A solo from trumpeter Bryan Davis adds to the volcanic reaction. The swingfest rolls on with "Easy to Love," featuring a classy Ken Peplowski opening cadenza and, later on, after DeNiro loves easily, a tasty ride.

DeNiro is a thoroughly inviting vocal instrument. She possesses a lithe, swinging approach to lines and lyrics. With vocal chops more on the high, bright side, she stars brilliantly across the date. Her phrasing and pitch sensitivity are dead-on. She dives into the emotional spectrum elegantly on Burt Bacharach & Hal David's Dionne Warwick hit, "A House is Not a Home" and the dramatic "Come In from the Rain." A complete jazz singer, she has killer scat-with-ensemble chops on "It Might As Well Be Spring" and "Willow Weep for Me." The ensemble, comprising New York Area heavyweights, solidly delivers leader Ron Aprea's terrific charts. It, as do the charts, frames DeNiro's stylings perfectly. Always a musician with a historian's reverence (Aprea authored "The Era I Almost Missed." self-published, 2022) one can easily hear the Count Basie, Frank Wess, and Quincy Jones influences throughout.

DeNiro and the band tastefully send up Henry Mancini's gorgeous (and his own personal favorite) composition "Two for the Road." Johnny Mercer's "That Old Black Magic" has DeNiro cooking without any of the Louis Prima & Keely Smith hammed up antics. "On Green Dolphin Street" is a standout swinger. "For Phil," an Aprea original, is a straight-ahead bossa toast to Phil Woods with a fine Todd Bashore solo. The rarely recorded Sol Weinstein ballad, "The Curtain Falls," most closely associated with Bobby Darin, closes the session with DeNiro offering a definitively beautiful take.

Swinging with Legends 2 is a tasty and elegant recording from great musicians and fine charts, all of which surround an incredibly talented and swinging vocalist.

Track Listing

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.

Personnel

Ron Aprea
arranger
Todd Bashore
saxophone, alto
Elijah Schiffer
saxophone, alto
Nathan Childers
saxophone
Lee Greene
saxophone, tenor
Doug Dehays
saxophone, baritone
Chris Persad
trumpet
Matthew Timm
trumpet
Wayne Goodman
trombone
Matt Haviland
trombone
Brandon Moodie
trombone
Dale Turk
trombone
Cecilia Coleman
keyboards
Additional Instrumentation

Todd Bashore: flute; Elijah Schiffer: flute; Nathan Childers: flute, clarinet; Lee Greene: flute clarinet; Doug Dehays: clarinet, bass clarinet; Guest Artists: Lew Tabackin: tenor saxophone, flute (6, 9); Ken Peplowski.: clarinet (2); Randy Brecker: trumpet (3).

Album information

Title: Swingin' with Legends 2 | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Early Autumn Productions

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