Dori Rubbicco took a degree in music and jazz vocal studies at Westfield State University and her association with her musical director John Harrison dates back to 1978 when they rehearsed together for a wedding gig. Whilst living in Los Angeles, Rubbicco auditioned for and then studied with John Dankworth and Cleo Laine. She met her future husband, guitarist Donn Legge, whilst they were both living in Miami where they resided for 17 years before returning to her home state of Massachusetts.
Stage Door Live! is the name given to a series of monthly concerts commenced in 2011 at New Bedford’s Zeiterion Theatre, where seating is arranged in a fairly informal, jazz club style and this set from the venue will appeal greatly to lovers of torch songs and the great American songbook. That said, John Harrison’s “Roman Sun” is an instrumental and one of two originals in the set.
Rubbicco’s feisty vocalese reading of “Twisted”, the sardonic song written and made famous by Annie Ross, elevates the recording to a whole new level. Rubbicco’s gifted with a good singing voice and she combines it with a powerful and convincing delivery which at its best evinces genuine emotional depth. One perfect example of this is her own moving composition “Right Here Waiting”.
The choice of numbers occasionally borders on the anodyne, although the languid, soulful arrangement of John Lennon’s “Imagine” unfailingly piques the listener’s interest, transforming it into something else entirely. Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Two Kites” ends oddly with a fade-out, presumably for technical reasons, but the finale, “That’s All”, imbued with an ebullient, lively execution, clearly demonstrates Rubbicco’s potential as an outstanding vocalist.
Roman Sun; Imagine; Two Kites; Pretty Funny; No Regrets; Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow; Throw It Away; Twisted; Right Here Waiting; I Can See Clearly; That’s All (66.38)
Rubbicco (v); John Harrison III (p); Bill Miele (elb); Yoron Israel (d); Donn Legge (g); Bryan Steele (ts, ss); Ian Rubbicco Legge (clo). 18 May 2017, New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Whaling City Sound 107