156

Barbara Sfraga: Under the Moon

Elliott Simon By

Sign in to view read count
Singer Barbara Sfraga's sophomore effort draws from the artist's strength: retooling well-worn classics into lean arrangements that highlight her mastery of phrasing and rhythm. Although guitarist John McLean adds a bit of spice to several cuts, Sfraga is most at home riffing off her rhythm section that includes drummer Paul Wertico, percussionist Kevin Patrick and bassist Chris Sullivan. It is Sullivan whom Sfraga plays off best and the two have a keen insight into each other's style.

An extended version of Hoagy Carmichael's vocally difficult "Stardust" begins the CD. Its sinewy a capella melodic statement is joined by a tropical rhythm as its lyrics unhurriedly tumble forward to give this most classic of love songs its due. Breezy Latin versions of "I've Grown Accustomed to His Face" and the usually sedate "You've Changed" evidence Sfraga's ability to bring a new awareness to very familiar melodies. Three Ellington classics are also given new faces: "Mood Indigo" is presented with long sensual phrasing, "Sophisticated Lady" has a pleasantly surprising almost happy mood, and "Prelude to a Kiss" is a tour de force for Sullivan as he gets down and funky providing a perfect counterpoint for Sfraga's vocal.

The sole self-penned number, "Never Walk Away," is a full-speed-ahead percussive adventure whose clever contemporary lyrics let the intended target know where he stands. Two intriguing inclusions are Dylan's 1980 ode to spiritual redemption, "Every Grain of Sand," and singer/songwriter Angela Bofill's titular inspiration "Under the Moon and Over the Sky." While the latter is primarily an expansion of the original's exotica feel, Dylan's under-recorded gem is given reverential treatment reminiscent of Joan Baez's best lyrical interpretations of his work. A look Under the Moon reveals that Sfraga's star is rising.


Track Listing: 1. Stardust 2. I've Grown Accustomed To His Face 3. Mood Indigo 4. You've Changed 5. It Might As Well Be Spring 6. Under The Moon and Over The Sky 7. Sophisticated Lady 8. Prelude To A Kiss 9. Never Walk Away 10. Every Grain of Sand

Personnel: Barbara Sfraga: Vocals; John McLean: Guitars; Paul Wertico: Drums; Christopher Dean Sullivan: Acoustic Bass, Indigenous Tribal Nuances; Kevin Patrick: Percussion.

Title: Under The Moon | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: A440 Music


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Heart Knows CD/LP/Track Review Heart Knows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Jersey CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Wobbly Danse Flower CD/LP/Track Review Wobbly Danse Flower
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Carry Fire CD/LP/Track Review Carry Fire
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 22, 2017
Read A Night Walking Through Mirrors CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jondo CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read "The Big Wig" CD/LP/Track Review The Big Wig
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 24, 2017
Read "Jazz Jukebox" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Jukebox
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "Second City" CD/LP/Track Review Second City
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 13, 2017
Read "The Eastcote Studios Session" CD/LP/Track Review The Eastcote Studios Session
by John Eyles
Published: November 30, 2016
Read "Counteract This Turmoil Like Trees And Birds" CD/LP/Track Review Counteract This Turmoil Like Trees And Birds
by John Sharpe
Published: August 3, 2017
Read "Abbey Road Sessions, Vol 1" CD/LP/Track Review Abbey Road Sessions, Vol 1
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 25, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.