Amazon Verified Purchase Review – D. Parsons

Written By D. Parsons (5 Stars)
“Cool, Creative, Contemporary!”
With this CD, Denise Donatelli and producer, arranger Geoffrey Keezer continue to expand and elevate contemporary jazz vocals into new musical territory. This music is new and exciting…I don’t know of anyone else who sounds like this! In this same forum, I have previously praised Ms. Donatelli’s fresh treatment of the Great American Songbook. However, on this project she has selected mostly compositions from contemporary song writers such as Donald Fagen, Brenda Russell, David Crosby, as well as Sting, Journey and others. Applying Ms. Donatelli’s unique vocal sound to interpret such interesting, intelligent lyrics gives their message new clarity. Also, Mr. Keezer’s amazing arrangements for the ensemble (with input from this wonderful group of musicians) recreates these songs into contemporary jazz.

All of the musicians are outstanding, but I must give special notice for the dynamic, driving percussion of Marvin “Smitty” Smith. Also, there is beautiful trumpet work by Chris Botti on “Practical Arrangement”, a hauntingly beautiful song with poignant lyrics. The CD opens big with “Big Noise, New York” (D. Fagen) and proceeds with Brenda Russell’s “Love and Paris Rain” which includes string quartet and background vocal harmony (which complements Ms. Donatelli’s voice on several tracks). This strong beginning sets the stage for the entire CD, & things never waver. This is such impressive, powerful music, and so GRAMMY worthy.

Original Review