Jul 27, 2022
Welcome to New England! This time the new release takes us to the smallest US state of Rhode Island and introduces musicians who are quite famous on the local stage – the Evening Sky ensemble from Providence. The ensemble is unique, they characterize their music as “root music under the influence of jazz and jazz under the influence of root music”. Bassist Joe Potenza said in an interview that Evening Sky’s music ranges from Bill Frizell to the Grateful Dead. In general, Evening Sky is a quartet, where, in addition to the bassist mentioned above, two guitarists play, Chris Brooks on a pedal steel guitar and Gino Rosati on an ordinary electric guitar, as well as drummer Eric Hastings. The ensemble already has a number of albums in its discography, and local vocalist Tish Adams also joined the band in her new project, which is why the designation +1 appeared in the title. Adams is also not the last person on the local scene. A versatile vocalist and a popular radio host for many years, Adams is a perfect fit for her collaboration with Evening Sky, which should clearly reflect on the popularity of the new album.
The album’s program looks rather motley. Here is the classic of American music Cole Porter (My Heart Belongs to Daddy), and Wes Montgomery (West Coast Blues), who influenced many generations of American jazz guitarists, and the popular singer and songwriter Joe Henry with the composition Stop, which became famous performed by Madonna, and Percy Mayfield’s old R&B ballad Please Send Me Someone To Love, and Horace Silver’s hard bop standard Peace. Such a set may seem eclectic, but just as everything King Midas touched turned to gold, Evening Sky and Tish Adams turn all these very different works into their own product with a very distinctive personal touch. The group’s motto mentioned above works in this project as well, and Adams, with her obvious inclination towards the blues, sings in such a way that in each track the listener receives a story-story composed as if specially for him. Small Day Tomorrow has been turned into a blues, there is practically nothing left of the characteristic swing in Porter’s My Heart Belongs to Daddy, and I would call Stop simply the pinnacle of the album, and even here there is very little in common with Madonna’s version. In a word, a real indi, a great gift for those who do not like standard sounds.
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Nov 28, 2018
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Dave Liebman most recently performed on Fred Farell’s album “Distant Song.”
Jun 19, 2018
Vocal jazz does not appear so often in the Whaling City Sound catalogs, but if Neil Weiss publishes such an album, then it surely is worth it. And the album Stage Door Live! We’re presenting is in general a special case. Singer Dori Rubicco is one of the Directors of the Zeiterion Center for the Performing Arts in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and Dartmouth, where the headquarters of Whaling City Sound is located, is part of Greater New Bedford. Dori sings accompanied by John Harrison Ill’s Quintet. This pianist is also from New Bedford, and Neil Weiss in liner notes calls him one of New Bedford’s national treasures. Moreover, it was his name that stood on the cover of one of the first albums released by Weiss’s label. And finally, it was at Zeiterion that the concert recording comprising Stage Door Live! was made May 2017. As they say, all the stars came together.
But even without astrology, this is a very worthy project. Dori Rubicco is an experienced vocalist. She came from New England, since childhood she has been involved with music and jazz in particular, being the youngest of five sisters who also sought to make their way in various kinds of art. Dori has been acquainted with John Harrison III for a very long time, since the end of the 1970s, so that their professional contacts have a long history. However, at the beginning of her career, Dori went to California, and sang in Los Angeles. Later, she traveled a lot around the country and performed as a vocalist with the Miami Jazz Ensemble, the Gerald Wiggins Trio, and the Blues Train Band. Her return to her childhood haunts marked the resumption of her collaboration with John Harrison III as well.
Stage Door Live! is the fifth album in the discography of the singer and the second for Whaling City Sound. It is curious that the quintet that accompanied her at the concert in Zeiterion was put together by Harrison III specially for this event. Some of the musicians, for example, bassist William Mayely and drummer Yaron Israel, had never even played together before. Despite this, the quintet sounds very harmonious, as you can see from the starting composition of the album Roman Sun, written by John and the only purely instrumental piece, where saxophone, piano, percussion, guitar and again the saxophone put out a very decent level of sound. But with the next song and right up to the end of the album the voice of the instruments is led by Dori Rubicco. She starts with Imagine. To me, who grew up on the original version by John Lennon, it was unusual to hear the jazz arrangement, but, I must admit, it was done with great quality and with respect to the original. But in the collection of songs presented by Dori, I still prefer the charming bossa-nova Jobim Two Kites, beautifully performed by Dory in the classical jazz style of Throw It Away by Abby Lincoln and her pulsating scat in Twisted from the trio of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross. With special interest I listened to Rubicco’s only original composition, Right Here Waiting – and was not disappointed. To my taste, this is one of the best numbers in the program. And its heterogeneity, as can be seen even from this small enumeration, evidences the universality of the singer’s talent. The spectators who gathered that evening in Zeiterion were clearly not disappointed.
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