This week’s Vinyl Vault features an album from vocalist Meredith D’Ambrosio entitled “Little Jazz Bird.” The album was released in 1982 on Palo Alto Jazz Records. D’Ambrosio is backed by a stellar band led by pianist Hank Jones. Also in the line-up are Phil Woods and his rhythm section of Steve Gilmore on bass and Bill Goodwin on drums. The Manhattan String Quartet makes an occasional appearance on selected cuts.
D’Ambrosio is one of those vocalists who enjoys prowling the jazz depths for great songs that, for one reason or another, have been overlooked or neglected by most jazz players, but nonetheless are songs that maintain their vitality, beautiful melodies or clever turns of phrase. The title track is the perfect example of this jazz archaeology. It’s a George and Ira Gershwin composition which compares quite favorably with their more well-known works. Other composers of songs for the set include David Frishberg, Loonis McGlohan and Sammy Cahn-Jimmy Van Heusen, plus two tunes by Deborah Henson-Conant.
D’Ambrosio possesses a smokey contralto voice and an understated, laid back attitude. This isn’t a set that will grab you by the throat or demand that you hit the dance floor or bang your head on the wall. D’Ambrosio’s appeal is much more subtle; the difference between riding a roller coaster and settling into the back porch and enjoying the sunset. Both Jones and Woods keep the jazz sensibility of the session front and center. Jones provides a gentle swing throughout and Woods perfectly punctuates the proceedings with tasteful alto and clarinet solos and fills. Jones sits out on two tunes and allows D’Ambrosio to accompany herself on piano.
Join Geoff Anderson for the Vinyl Vault on Tuesday evening, September 1, at 8:30 on KUVO JAZZ.”
Stay connected to KUVO’s programs and our community’s activities: Sign up for the station’s Oasis Online E-newsletter today!