Bianca Rossini – Vento do Norte

Bianca RossiniBianca Rossini – Vento do Norte
(Apaixonada Music/
BDM Records)

Released 17 July 2017

While I could listen to Bossa Nova all day – for the most part, it would be mood music. It is not typically the kind of music that engenders the “…turn that up, I want to hear this,” kind of behavior for me.

With exceptions. Sergio Mendes and his various “Brazil XX” groups, Astrud Gilberto, and now, Bianca Rossini.

Ten originals, all with lyrics by Ms. Rossini, opening with a strong and insistent title track, “Vento do Norte,” which manages to be both driving and tender all at once. That intimacy is what sets Ms. Rossini apart from many bossa nova vocalists – all emotion, never indifference.Bianca Rossini

As intimate as a whisper in the ear, and quite possibly as suggestive, as well. Makes me wish I spoke Portuguese.

Favorites include the slyly-titled “Tic Tac Do Amor,” the title track (“Northern Wind”), and the closer – “Coração de Ouro.”

Multi-talented producer-arranger and man of many instruments (piano, bass, strings, whistling!) Peter Roberts contributes heavily to the frame that goes around this talented vocalist. This is a third album for Los Angeles-based Ms. Rossini, which even in its most languid moments, refuses to be relegated to the background.

Very highly recommended.

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Canen – A Matter Of Time

Canen - A Matter of TimePurchased at Amazon on a whim, and added to the playlist at my little (and late) net radio project, was a tune from Canen (pronounced “cannon”.)  This young singer was unknown to me, and judging from the album cover, appears to be…at the least, in her twenties.

Sounds like that, too – the first track to make the rotation was the old Glenn Miller tune, “I’ve Got A (Guy) in Kalamazoo,” and turned the radio up each time it came around.  Looking for a video at YouTube, and found many, and got a big surprise, as well:

Continue reading Canen – A Matter Of Time

Natalie Cole

Natalie ColeNatalie Cole, whose battles with health and substance abuse issues were well-documented over the years, has died at 65.

Once called “the new Aretha Franklin” in the 1970s, her first recordings were on the Capitol Label; she picked up nine grammys through 2009.

The music website Discogs notes, “Among her many hits, highlights include “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)”, “I’ve Got Love On My Mind”, “Our Love”, her duet with Ray Parker Jr., “Over you”, her duet with Freddie Jackson, “I Do”, her duets album with Peabo Bryson and the “virtual” duets albums with her late father Nat King Cole.”


Ms. Cole died last evening at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles due to “ongoing health issues,” according to a family spokesperson. She openly talked about her early-80s drug addiction, but was diagnosed with Hepatitis C in 2008, and had canceled many recent scheduled appearances – citing a “medical procedure” and hospital stay.

Susie Arioli – Spring

Susie Arioli - SpringSusie Arioli – Spring
(Spectra Musique)

Released – October 6, 2015

I’ve gone too long without writing much about Susie Arioli, but then again, she’s gone too long without an album. She shows up here for the first outing since 2012’s “All The Way.” Along the way, she’s lost longtime collaborator Jordan Officer on guitar, but picks up a horn section, arrangements, vibes and piano from Don Thompson, direction from Grammy winner (with Etta James)John Snyder, and four originals.

The opening track is one of those originals – “Loverboy,” a tune I was sure I’d heard before, always the sign of work with the potential to become a classic. She readily concedes that the original tunes center on that “man-woman love thing,” telling one interviewer, “You write what you know.”

Susie Arioli

The other originals are “Can’t Say No,” along with “Someone Else,” and the title track, “Spring.”

My other favorites are 1929’s “Mean To Me,” and Johnny Mercer’s “Travelin’ Light.”

The change of scenery serves Ms. Arioli well – her playful alto is in the sweet spot here, with gently swingy material, evoking music from some less complicated earlier time. The backing from a much-larger than usual (for Ms. Arioli) bunch of Montreal’s best is long overdue for this three-time Juno nominated songstress, overlooked for too long by all of us south of the border.

That band features Terry Clarke on drums, Neil Swainson on bass, Reg Schwager on guitar, and horns from Phil Dwyer (tenor sax), Andy Ballantyne (alto sax), Shirantha Beddage (baritone sax), Kelsey Grant on trombone, and Kevin Turcotte on trumpet.

Some of the best masterpieces come in small and quiet frames.

Highest recommendation for this one.

Highlighted tracks will be added to the playlist at radio.


Kim Nazarian – Some Morning

Kim Nazarian - Some MorningKim Nazarian – Some Morning
Released – October 16, 2015

Recorded at sessions streatching from 2008 to 2014 – literally years in the making – this is Kim Nazarian’s first solo outing.  She breaks away from singing soprano as one of the founding members of New York Voices, that tight harmony group critic Scott Yanow calls “One of the best (and only) jazz vocal groups of the 1990s…”

The only question would be – what took so long? Riding the line between songbook, vaguely familiar, and original material, Trombonist (and husband) Jay Ashby masterfully arranges the album, recorded in so many places and at so many times, into a set that hangs together nicely.

Make no mistake, though – it’s Ms. Nazarian who’s inside that frame, and stunning, whether handling the sweet “Que Sera Sera,” a call/answer (with guitarist/vocalist) John Pizzarelli on Sunny Skylar’s “Gotta Be This Or That,” the poignant “What’ll I Do,” or intricate vocalese on Mr. Ashby’s original (and set closer), the great-big band “Road To Kursk.”

Kim Nazarian

“Que Sera Sera” was a family affair, featuring Greg Nazarian, Ms. Nazarian’s father, on saxophone.  Adding vocals is Ian Ashby, her son.  Brother-in-law, guitarist Marty Ashby, is featured on several tracks, with a nice solo on Cole Porter’s “So In Love.”

Ms. Nazarian says she hopes the project introduce her abilities as a lyricist and arranger, and will allow her opportunities to tour with her family. I’m not sure she really needs to prove anything further.  This outing is stunningly spot-on not only in its technical execution, but also in her ability to deftly interpret the diverse range of material.

The credits are lengthy, as the tracks were recorded at eight locations over that six-year period. Notables sitting in for a track or two include the aforementioned Mr. Pizzarelli, reed guy (and winner of 14 Grammys) Paquito D’Rivera, Gary Burton on vibes, and Sean Jones on Trumpet.

This set is very highly recommended.


Highlighted tracks were added to the playlist at radio.