Her first album was a tribute to her father. Monica Mancini’ssecondalbum is a tribute to the music of another legend. Johnny Mercer left a strong impression on the singer as she was growing up in a musical family. Mancini’s parents met when they were both working with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Mom was a singer and Dad was a composer. The apple falls close to the roots of the tree, and Monica Mancini’s natural talent serves to make this latest project work.
Popular music has a wide audience appeal. How can we forget classics such as “Skylark,” “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe” and “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive?” For her tribute to Johnny Mercer, Mancini has included seven songs composed by Barry Manilow. After the songwriter’s passing, Ginger Mercer, his wife, discovered unpublished lyrics among his possessions. Some of these were passed to Manilow. The collaborative result enhances Mancini’s pop album.
Guests Alvin Chea, Warren Luening, Dean Parks and Sal Lozano complement the singer’s charming interpretations. That all lyrics are included in the album’s liner notes serves to remind us of the intended emphasis. Each song has a story to tell. The mood changes from slow and dreamy to hot and spicy. Percussionists Munyungo Jackson, Michito Sanchez and Tiki Pasillas feed the fire on several tracks. While Mancini’s vocal approach remains impersonal and devoid of a distinguishing style, she’s surrounded herself with a stellar cast for this tribute that succeeds in highlighting the lyrics of a legendary songwriter.
Track Listing: Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive; Something Tells Me; Skylark; The Weekend of a Private Secretary; With My Lover Beside Me; When October Goes; On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe; When the Meadow was Bloomin
Personnel: Monica Mancini- vocals; Randy Waldman- keyboards; David Torres, Michael Lang- piano; Chuck Berghofer, George Lopez- bass; Gregg Field- drums & percussion; Dean Parks- guitar; Ricardo
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total)
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total). He saw an alto sax on my neck and said: Hey, how about you there, would you like to play something for us? I played a piece with the piano. OK, said Lee, how about you play something unaccompanied? Oh yeah! I was deep into transcribing Sonny Stitt and pretty much into playing as fast as possible as many right notes as possible. So I played Oleo in about 300 beats per minute and was very proud of myself. Lee was tapping his foot all the way through. Hmm, he said, that was in time and all that... (I thought - yeah, of course, haha!) and then he said, You've got a lot of quantity, how about quality? It took me 15 years to realize what he meant.