Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

380

The Sweet Sound of Robert Gambarini

R.J. DeLuke By

Sign in to view read count
At last – Confirmation!
No, not the Charlie Parker tune. Confirmation that songstress Roberta Gambarini is truly a devotee of Anita O'Day.
This new singer continues to dazzle as she tours the country this summer and did so again at the Berkshire Jazz Festival on Aug. 25 and 26 in Great Barrington, Mass., with two strong sets that had audiences howling.
She was a sheer delight at George Wein's Friehofer Jazz Festival in Saratoga Springs, NY, back in June. Splashes of Ella and Sarah, yet with such a strong flavor of Anita. Caught at the Berkshire festival after her first set, she admitted being a huge fan of O'Day, and divulged her desire to one day meet her idol.

The Italian-born singer said she picked up jazz from an extensive record collection belonging to her father, which included all the greats, not just singers, but instrumentalists as well. That's where her tour-de-force scat version of "On the Sunny Side of the Street" comes from. On the first day of the festival she sang it, explaining it comes from a record featuring Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins and Sonny Stitt. She scats each one's solos, based on what was on the recording, and it is enticing.

She was backed by Richie Hart, an engaging guitarist, and veterans Rick Petrone on bass and Joe Corsello on drums. She'd never played with them before, but you'd never know it. She would turn toward the group to name the tune, give a few directions about what the feel and tempo should be, and then jump right in. The set went smooth as butter. "Squeeze Me," she sang ... and you wanted to. Sometimes one syllable became four or five notes, like Ms. Vaughan. Other times, simplicity reigned. She's developing a great sense of style. She can swing, like the up-tempo version of "Lover Man," or croon, like on Strayhorn's "Day Dream." "Good Morning Heartache," was endearing. She doesn’t sing it with Billie's sense of pathos. That was Lady Day's thing. Gambarini's voice puts forth a succulent charm.

She isn't just a singer, said Hart; she's special. "She has a true knowledge of the jazz repertoire," he said before introducing her on Day 2 of the festival for another successful set. She did Jobim. Even Randy Weston's "Berkshire Blues," ("I thought that sounded familiar," chuckled Weston when she announced the song after she completed it. The pianist, having played the day before, was strolling through the crowd and stopped to hear the music. Gambarini then gracefully pointed him out in the audience.)

Her enchanting "Everything Happens to Me" includes a solo where she improvises sounding exactly like a trumpet, swinging softly and executing the changes like Art Farmer might.

Gambarini is a woman of considerable talent, as well as charm, and should be on her way. It may take some time, but it will be worth the wait – for her and us.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Ostrava Days 2017 Live Reviews Ostrava Days 2017
by Martin Longley
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Diane Schuur at Birdland Live Reviews Diane Schuur at Birdland
by Tyran Grillo
Published: November 20, 2017
Read Pat Metheny at Belfast Waterfront Live Reviews Pat Metheny at Belfast Waterfront
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Crosscurrents at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor Live Reviews Crosscurrents at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: November 15, 2017
Read "Mat Maneri and Lucian Ban at Barbès" Live Reviews Mat Maneri and Lucian Ban at Barbès
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 7, 2017
Read "TD Ottawa Jazz Festival 2017" Live Reviews TD Ottawa Jazz Festival 2017
by John Kelman
Published: June 29, 2017
Read "Jeff Lorber Fusion at Nighttown" Live Reviews Jeff Lorber Fusion at Nighttown
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: June 5, 2017
Read "Bergamo Jazz Festival 2017" Live Reviews Bergamo Jazz Festival 2017
by Francesco Martinelli
Published: April 14, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor