Thursday, March 14, 2013

Vocal CD of the Month - "Introducing Letizia Gambi"

Vocal CD of the Month
"Introducing Letizia Gambi" (Jando Music)

Produced by Lenny White
Executive Producers: Giandomenico Ciaramella & Letizia Gambi

Special Guests (in alphabetical order): Gato Barbieri, Ron Carter, Chick Corea, Gil Goldstein, Wallace Rooney, Patrice Rushen & Lenny White
Also Featuring: Max Ionata, John Benitez, Antonio Farao, Hector Del Curto, Dave Finch, Vince Evans, Dario Rosciglione, Nick Moroch, Pete Levin, Axel Tosca, Carlos Franzetti, Jisso Ok, Nick Danielson et al

Artwork: Enzo Criscione
Photos: Alberto Borgonovo & Paolo Soriani
Recorded mostly @ Knoop Studios (New Jersey) by Manfred Knoop
Mixed by Manfred Knoop & Pablo Arraya
Mastered by Greg Calbi @ Sterling Sound (NYC)

The golden voice of Letizia Gambi debuts on this beautiful album produced by master Lenny White (of Return To Forever fame, not to mention his work on Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew" and Freddie Hubbard's "Red Clay," two seminal albums from the 70s.) Her strong and powerful singing shines throughout the CD, recorded with an all-star cast (see the list above) assembled by White, her teacher and mentor.

The repertoire ranges from the opening track "Una Furtiva Lagrima" (the famous aria from Donizetti's opera "L'Elisir D'Amore," a Caruso "hit" updated to the pop-jazz idiom by White's arrangement) to Bjork's trance tune "Bachelorette" to Prince's "The Question of U." The ecletic program, unified by White's production skills, also includes old ("'O Sole Mio," featuring Ron Carter; I only wish that the bass could have been recorded at Van Gelder's to sound fat & warm like only Rudy knows how to do) and new (Pino Danielle's "Appocundria," featuring Chick Corea on piano) Neapolitan melodies, tasteful pop/r&b originals, and a jazz standard (Duke Ellington's "In A Sentimental Mood") married to "Munasterio 'E Santachiara".

Like Gil Goldstein says on the 20-page CD booklet (wondrous artwork, by the way, full of seductive pics and liner notes by Ashley Kahn), "Lenny White and Letizia Gambi have created the hippest musical address in Naples, at the intersection of Neapolitan music and jazz." And, like Ron Carter adds on his statement, "It was soooo nice to play with a singer that can really sing." What else can we say? Well, we already said in our 34th Annual Jazz Station Poll. Check the Female Singers, New Talent and Best 10 Vocal Jazz CDs categories and see for yourself. Brindiamo!

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