Monday, May 30, 2011

CD of the Week - "Antoinette: Verbal Crush"

CD of the Week
Antoinette: "Verbal Crush" (Milestone Entertainment Company)

Antoinette Manganas' best album to date, produced by Larry King. The session starts with an irresistible dancefloor version of Gershwin's "Summertime," provided by Marc Dold, and includes many other infectious tracks. Maybe the strongest rendition ever of "Love Won't Let Me Wait" (Hank Crawford used to "sing" it on alto, and Antoinette phrases like a sax player) appears here.

Antoinette's soulful "black" voice travels from jazz ("These Foolish Things") to pop (Carole King's hit "It's Too Late") to r&b ("Isaac Hayes' "Déjà Vu") and even Brazilian music (a nice take on Jobim's bossa anthem "How Insensitive," with the help of the Belo Horizonte-born Paulinho Garcia on acoustic guitar.)

The legendary drummer/producer Norman Connors, Antoinette's mentor, contributes with "Special," and the singer herself wrote "Where Do We Go From Here," a lovely duet with former Shalimar singer Howard Hewett. The Chicago-based backing band is excellent too, including John Blessucci (keyboards), Larry Kohut (electric bass), Khari Parker (drums). The only "sad" thing is that she remains one of the best kept secrets of the music biz. She was discovered by Connors, but now she deserves to be discovered by the world. Music lovers deserve it too.

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