Calabria Foti is a sweet, sexy vocalist who sings 10 familiar songs with sultry finesse on this romantic debut. When A Woman Loves A Man is a concept album that traces a love affair from initial exhilaration ("I Hadn’t Anyone "Til You) through passionate times ("Fever"), troubled times ("I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life"), and finally past a breakup ("By Myself"). It’s a classy mainstream effort featuring some excellent sidemen, including Foti’s talented husband Bob McChesney (trombone) and Tonight Show veteran Pete Christlieb (tenor sax).
On When A Woman Loves A Man, Foti communicates each tune's emotional essence without resorting to pretentious histrionics. Strings enhance three of the ballads, which bring to mind Linda Ronstandt's collaborations with Nelson Riddle. In fact, Foti's voice is somewhat similar to Ronstadt's, but with the timbre and control of a superior jazz stylist. The arrangements (by Foti and pianist Matt Harris) are tasteful, and include some smart solos. Foti plays violin on a lush version of "All The Way," while Christlieb again proves himself one of the most underrated tenor saxmen in jazz.
The most breathtaking track here is a tender treatment of Rogers and Hammerstein's "This Nearly Was Mine," which begins with Foti singing over Harris' soft piano before violins sweep in subtly. Up-tempo numbers like "I Hadn't Anyone 'Til You" and "A Fine Romance" swing with easy grace and some heady bop touches. Bassist Trey Henry and drummer Ray Brinker shine on a sensual version of "Fever."
Though it's not as slick a production, When A Woman Lives A Man is comparable to Natalie Cole's Unforgettable and Linda Ronstadt’s What’s New. The choice of material is similar, as are the romantic atmospherics and classy execution. With her bright, limber voice, Calabria Foti deserves widespread attention.
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.