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Alma Micic’s album shows youthful exuberance, but also a mature assurance

By: Joseph Lang

Serbian-born singer ALMA MICIC has been on the New York scene since graduating from Berklee College of Music in the late 1990s.  She has performed both locally and internationally and produced three albums prior to her current recorded endeavor, That Old Feeling (Whaling City Sound – 099).  She enlisted guitarist Rale Micic, bassist Corcoran Holt, drummer Jonathan Blake and vibist Tom Beckham for this nine-tune collection.  Micic’s voice is immediately welcoming.  She opens with the title track, but there is nothing old in the feeling of her singing.  She has a youthful exuberance, but also a mature assurance that finds the heart of each lyric.  In addition to familiar tunes like “That Old Feeling,” “Moonglow,” “Cry Me a River,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Estate” and “Blue Moon,” she sings two Serbian songs, one of her own and a folk tune, plus Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon.”  All in all, That Old Feeling is a solid outing by Alma Micic.
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WCSound releases on 11/6 JazzWeek Radio Chart: Most Added Dave Zinno Unisphere “River of January,” Most Added Eric Wyatt “Look to the Sky,” Chartbound Alma Micic “That Old Feeling”

Chartbound Alma Micic That Old Feeling Alma Micic Quartet serves up a delightful take on timeless standards, embellished by an original, and a version of the Romany anthem “Solnishko”, with visions of a dreamy night, both sentimental and hopeful. Songs inspired by dancing in the moonlight, till the sunrise comes, Alma’s new album That Old Feeling will leave you with a sweet feeling.

 

Most Added Dave Zinno Unisphere River of January The songs are lavish jazz adventures, rich with texture, ripe with melodicism, and simply joyful audio journeys. The band is spectacular: Unisphere includes the talents of sax man Mike Tucker (Arturo Sandoval), drummer Rafael Barata (Milton Nascimento, Marc Johnson), Leo Genovese (Joe Lovano, Esperanza Spaulding), and Crescent City trumpeter Benny Bloom. Zinno leads them the way a hopeless romantic treats a first love: gently, understanding and worshipful. He glorifies his accompanists and allows them to go on at length, indulging their considerable talents and making River of January a wall of glorious of sound. This isn’t to say that it’s stodgy. Zinno infuses the work with progress. The band takes the vibe of traditional jazz and reverses the paradigm, so the songs, while familiar, certainly don’t remain the same. There are many highlights here, and while it wouldn’t be a waste of space to speak about them individually, it would be easier to say that these tunes all include rushes of adrenaline, sweetness of melody and serious elements of style. River of January is a work of forward thinking tradition and one that has much substance within it to discover.

Most Added Eric Wyatt Look to the Sky Brooklyn-born and bred Eric owns a solid berth along the saxophone continuum originally laid out by guys like Parker, Coltrane and Rollins. Throughout his career, his playing has been edgy and inventive, heartfelt and poignant. In fact, his father was good friends with Rollins and after Wyatt’s dad passed away, Sonny Rollins became involved in Eric’s music. “After my dad passed in 1989, Sonny became very present in my music and offered his help. I was given the opportunity to record my first CD, Godson, on the Japanese label King Records. Sonny suggested the title Godson because it explained his and my dad’s Hope. The Godson CD featured Al Foster, Rufus Reid and Mark Soskin, all members of Sonny’s bands. Look to the Sky, Wyatt’s debut for Whaling City Sound and his sixth recording overall, is magnificently realized, both instrumentally and emotionally. There are musical nods to his father (“Jolley Charlie”) and mother (“Psalm for Phennie”), to Coltrane (“My Favorite Things”) and a few other intimate touch-points, some original, a few written by his accompanist, Benito Gonzalez. Indeed, Wyatt is joined here by excellent progressive musicians, including the resounding pianist Gonzalez, drummers Shinnosuke Takahashi and Kyle Pool, Eric Wheeler on bass and Keyon Harrold on trumpet. Together, their music is filled with hope and dedication, reciprocity and passion. With every recording, Wyatt flourishes, in terms of artistry and intensity, power and finesse. Look to the Sky is the man’s—and his band’s— finest and fullest record yet.

 

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Alma Micic gives life to her songs in new album

By: Leonid Auskern

Serbian vocalist Alma Mizic has gone a long way, typical for many talented jazz performers from Europe. She was born in Belgrade, she began to learn to play the piano at six, and later realized that her element was vocal. At the age of 17, she sang with Big Band radio band and admired the art of Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Betty Carter. In the late 90’s, Alma went to study overseas, at Berkeley, and, having received a bachelor’s degree there, settled in New York, becoming there a notable figure with all the abundance of first-class vocalists in the Big Apple. Alma’s first album was released in 2004, followed by several more CDs, and today’s That Old Feeling, released by a well-known independent label from Dartmouth, Massachusetts Whaling City Sound, was the fourth in her discography.

The album’s structure resembles some previous CDs of the singer. Seven of the nine tracks are standards, with very well-known and very often performed ones, like Cry Me A River, Honeysuckle Rose or Blue Moon, and two tracks are their own, only to this performer: Alma’s own song, Ne Zaboravi Me balladand Russian-gypsy romance Solnishko. Standards – this is a touchstone for any jazz singer: I do not speak at all about the professionalism of the performance, the main thing is whether the given singer or singer is able to contribute something individual to the well-known topics. In my opinion, Alma Mizic does it. Her main trump card is magnificent intonation, the ability to “live” a song with her character and an impeccable sense of style.  And her version of Honeysuckle Rose may well stand in line with the best samples of this evergreen from the greatest stars. Well, and in his “own”, Slavic-Gypsy field Mizic is not imitated at all. Her clean, silvery color voice conveys the lyrics very emotionally, penetrating into the very depths of the hearts of listeners.

A considerable part of the success of this album can be recorded by the accompanying Alme Ensemble, in which I would especially single out her husband, guitarist Rale Mizic and very good bass player Corcoran Holt. If the expression “King is playing suite” is true, then Her Majesty can sincerely thank her partners – they were good. I think that those who hear That Old Feeling will be able to appreciate the skill of the singer, and the class of her colleagues

To see the original review in Russian, click here

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O’s Place: Alma Micic characterized as “a first rate jazz singer”

WHALING CITY SOUND
ALMA MICIC/That Old Feeling:  A first rate jazz singer that deserves to be known west of New York, she knows how to wrap herself around the oldies in fine form.  A tasty set that is a hallmark for anyone that’s swirled martinis in a clip joint where a thrush holds court will know just what this all about and what treasures lie beyond the bytes.  Tasty throughout.
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Find out more about Alma Micic here.
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