All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Denise Donatelli: When Lights are Low

Edward Blanco By

Sign in to view read count
Commanding a soothing, lush voice capable of tenderizing the lyrics of any song, Denise Donatelli does a wonderful job on When Light are Low, a collaboration with friend and musical director Geoffrey Keezer. The album has received two Grammy nominations, one of which is for "Best Vocal Jazz Album," leaving no doubt that this is indeed an exceptional recording. The other Grammy nod is for "Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying A Vocalist," for Keezer's arrangement of Billie Holiday's classic, "Don't Explain."

Iin addition to producing and arranging, Keezer also performs on piano, and crafts a variety of instrumental combinations in support of Donatelli, including trumpet , saxophone and rhythm section; a vocal choir; guitar and percussion; solo piano; and string quintet. Fronting a quartet featuring guitarist Peter Sprague, Donatelli kicks the music off with a swinging rendition of "It's You or No One," spicing it up with some appreciable scatting. On "Don't Explain," the vocalist shows her softer side, emotionally delivering its lyrics, with Sprague and guest flugelhonist Ingrid Jensen providing splendid accompaniment.

The title track is especially brilliant, surrendering an outstanding sound that features Ron Blake on a series of burnished tenor solos. The strings and background vocals come to the forefront on Sting's pop song "Big Lie, Small World," while Keezer and Donatelli perform a delicious duet on "Why Did I Choose You," perhaps a reference as to why these two are such a sparkling musical force. "The Telephone Song," sung as a bossa, delivers a nice buzz and features Sprague, and Jon Wikan on pandeiro. Other notable tracks include "Forward, Like So" and Cedar Walton's "Enchantment (Firm Roots)," wrapping up a special album from a special vocalist.

The Keezer-Donatelli collaboration proves to be a winning combination once again as the Grammy attention about When Lights are Low most certainly affirms. There are no low lights here, as Denise Donatelli's star continues to rise and, with this recording, shine brightly.

Track Listing: It's You or No One; Don't Explain; When Lights are Low; Big Lie, Small World; Why Did I Choose You?; I Wish I Were in Love Again; Kisses (Cantor Da Noite; Forward, Like So; The Telephone Song; The Bed I Made; Enchantment (Firm Roots).

Personnel: Denise Donatelli: vocal; Geoffrey Keezer: piano/Rhodes; Peter Sprague: guitar;Hamilton Price: bass/electric bass (10); Jon Wikan: drums/percussion; Jon Wikan:pandeiro (9); Susan Wulff: double bass (2, 7); Giovanni Clayton: cello (2,7); Roland Kato: viola (2, 7): Alma Lisa Fernandez: viola (2,7); Matthew Duckles: viola (2, 7); Julia Dollison: vocals (4, 10); Kerry Marsh: vocal (4, 10); Ingrid Jensen: flugelhorn (2); Phil O'Connor: bass clarinet (4, 10); Ron Blake: soprano sax (7).

Title: When Lights are Low | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Savant Records


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow CD/LP/Track Review
Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 22, 2018
Read Transatlantic CD/LP/Track Review
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 22, 2018
Read Criss Cross CD/LP/Track Review
Criss Cross
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 22, 2018
Read So Far CD/LP/Track Review
So Far
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 22, 2018
Read Wherever You're Starting From CD/LP/Track Review
Wherever You're Starting From
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 21, 2018
Read Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery CD/LP/Track Review
Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery
by Jerome Wilson
Published: March 21, 2018
Read "Far From Over" CD/LP/Track Review Far From Over
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 13, 2017
Read "Upright Piano - Live At Bar Moskus" CD/LP/Track Review Upright Piano - Live At Bar Moskus
by Jim Worsley
Published: December 25, 2017
Read "Life In Space" CD/LP/Track Review Life In Space
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 3, 2017
Read "Witchy Feelin'" CD/LP/Track Review Witchy Feelin'
by Doug Collette
Published: September 4, 2017
Read "Chasing the Unicorn" CD/LP/Track Review Chasing the Unicorn
by Paul Rauch
Published: September 6, 2017
Read "The Lovers card" CD/LP/Track Review The Lovers card
by James Nadal
Published: August 15, 2017