Category Archives: Reviews

Reviews of albums or artists.

Linda Calise – La Vie~My Life

Linda Calise - La Vie~My LifeLinda Calise – La Vie~My Life
Released – July 28, 2015

Plenty of support for Linda Calise – from a ten-strong string section, backing vocalists, and a six-piece core band – but make no mistake, they’re there to put a frame around Ms. Calise’s delightful, versatile voice.

It’s a multi-genre set, from Phoebe Snow’s “Poetry Man,” to Scottish folk song, “The Water Is Wide,” to Edith Piaf’s signature song (and the title track), “La Vie en Rose,” a tribute to Ms. Calise’s mother, who died in 2009.

Whether the sweet and simple, “Dream A Little Dream,” or the more complex duet (with Ben Albert), “I Wish You Love,” Ms. Calise makes it all seem effortless.

A big band sound backs a powerful “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” my favorite from the disc.

This album is highly recommended.


Highlighted tracks have been added to the playlist at 62ndStreet Radio.

There’s a great video that goes with the title track:


Kim Nalley – Blues People

Kim Nalley - Blues PeopleKim Nalley – Blues People
Released – July 1, 2015

An impressive and eclectic collection of choices from Kim Nalley, who manages to make each one bend to her will – whether it’s “Movin’ On Up” (Yes – *that* one, from the television show), or the traditional “Amazing Grace.” Ms. Nalley’s command of these songs – her range, the emotion, is breathtaking – amplified by a sparse but powerful backing band. Tammy Hall is on piano and organ, showing off (in the very best way) her background in Texas churches.

But if every song tells a story, this is a story of the African American experience told through original compositions like “Ferguson Blues,” and “Big Hooded Black Man,” and the mainstream – Gershwin’s “Summertime,” and Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released.”

Kim Nalley - Photo by Scott Chemis

The statements are strong, and command attention.

This disc is very highly recommended.


Highlighted tracks have been added to the playlist at 62ndStreet Radio.  Photo of Ms. Nalley by Scott Chemis.

Catina DeLuna / Lado B – Brazilian Project

Catina DeLuna - Brazilian ProjectCatina DeLuna – Brazilian Project
Released – September 4, 2015

Catina DeLuna’s group is named “Lado B,” with the translation from Portuguese as “Side B.” Anyone who’s listened to the flipside of a record and found a treasure there will get the sly name, and an album that focuses on some of the side streets of the Brazilian catalog. Ms DeLuna’s clear supple voice reminds me of the Lani Hall of the “Brazil ’66” days, effortlessly weaving melodies with words I wish I understood.

My ignorance does not take away from my appreciation of the album, nor the fine work of Otmaro Ruiz, as both a pianist and arranger, who manages to make “Garota de Ipanema” sound brand new, and the track “Estrella Azul” is also a favorite, floating above and alongside Larry Koonse on guitar.

Catina DeLuna

Make no mistake, this is a team effort – Ms. DeLuna’s instrument is that intimate voice she commands so well. But everyone shines on this set – Mr. Koonse on guitar, Edwin Livingston on bass and Aaron Serfaty on drums.

Highly recommended.


Highlighted tracks have been added to the playlist at 62ndStreet Radio.

Lorraine Feather – Flirting With Disaster

Lorraine Feather - Flirting With DisasterLorraine Feather – Flirting
With Disaster (Jazzed Media)

Released – August 7, 2015

Never cover material, always originals from singer/lyricist Lorraine Feather, who adds Dave Grusin to her stable of collaborators on this eleventh album. It’s a set that (for me) needed multiple listens to not only get familiar with unfamiliar territory, but to begin to appreciate the intracacies of Ms. Feather’s handcrafted work.

That’s not new – I’ve been known to take a pass on revewing her work simply because it’s unfamiliar.

And that’s a shame, because I’ve come to appreciate her individual works months – sometimes longer – after they fall into my hands.

Lorraine Feather

Not so this time.

Favorites here include the collaboration with Grusin – adding lyrics to his “Bossa Baroque,” re-titled now, “Wait For It.” I’m also smitten with the title tune, “Flirting With Disaster,” an instrumentally-complex showcase for the band that provides the musical frame for the emotion – love is always on the edge of trouble. Another favorite is the sly and funny “I’d Be Down With That.”

I’m sure others will catch my ear the more I listen.

And that task – listening more – is on the list.

Highly recommended.


Highlighted tracks have been added to the playlist at 62ndStreet Radio.

Marianne Solivan – The Lies Of Handsome Men

Marianne Solivan - SparkThe Lies Of
Handsome Men

From the album,
“Spark” (Hipnotic)

Released September 30, 2014

Francesca Blumenthal wrote “The Lies Of Handsome Men” in the mid-80s, and it’s been covered by everyone from Blossom Dearie to Margaret Whiting to Dame Cleo Lane. Sara Gazarek does a sweet and wistful treatment on her “Blossom and Bee” set from 2012.

But each time the version performed by Marianne Solivan comes around at, I turn the volume up a little. Sparse, bitter – perhaps, but in a more introspective way than outwardly directed.

I’ll admit that I have not listened to the whole album…I gave a quick listen to the tracks, and settled on both this one, and “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” as the two that I’d put into rotation at the little radio experiment.

Both are outstanding, but I like “Lies” better. Ms. Solivan is best when the lyrics give her a chance to slow down and fill the space.

And she does that nicely here.

“Lies Of Handsome Men” is a track that is very highly recommended.


Lisa Bassenge – Canyon Songs

Lisa Bassenge - Canyon SongsLisa Bassenge – Canyon Songs (Edel/MPS)
Released – September 25, 2015

About ten years ago, I was assigned to a two-week project in Berlin, and got a chance to do some diving into CD bins during the downtime. That’s where I discovered Lisa Bassenge. With nothing but a hunch based on the slick cover art (it *does* count), I bought the entire catalog up to that time.

It’s not for everyone. I clearly don’t have all of the sensibilities for German jazz, but when the Ms. Bassenge’s tunes hit me the right way, I’ll play them until the grooves wear out. (As if there were still grooves.)

Lisa Bassenge

And so that’s the way it is with “Canyon Songs.” It’s an eclectic mix of sixties classics: The Doors’ “Riders On The Storm” and Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth,” Joni Mitchell’s “The Same Situation,” and the Beach Boys’ “I Just Wasn’t Made for these Times.”

The sound is a little jazz, a little blues, and just a little country, as on Rickie Lee Jones’ “Last Chance Texaco.” It’s a winner, and so is a laid back and swingy version of Tom Waits’ “Blue Skies.”

Recorded in Los Angeles, produced by Larry Klein, who’s worked with Melody Gardot and Madeleine Peyroux, Ms. Bassenge’s new record company is clearly putting some money into the production, hoping for a breakout beyond Germany. German trumpeter Till Bonner joins on three of the tunes.

You’ll want to check to make sure it all resonates with you, but the whole album is priced right digitally, and if you’re like me, some of these tracks only get better with repeat listening.

I’ve been a fan for years. It’s about time Ms. Bassenge’s work is properly recognized in the US.

Very highly recommended.

Tracks in Bold added at Radio.