12 FEB 10 ANNE FARNSWORTH
Jazz singer Roseanna Vitro's Telarc debut album Passion Dance is a strong set of standards backed by a stellar group of sidemen. Pianist Kenny Werner, her long-time collaborator, wrote the arrangements and leads a rhythm section featuring bassist Christian McBride and the great Elvin Jones.
The Arkansas native moved to New York at the urging of jazz luminaries she met while hosting a live jazz radio show in Houston. Upon her arrival in NYC, Lionel Hampton hired her immediately after hearing her sing.
Her rich alto and instrumental approach to scat breathe new life into post-bop classics not commonly tackled by singers, like Eddie Harris' "Freedom Jazz Dance," a rangy challenge for a vocalist. Werner's reharmonization and a full horn section enhance a rare set of lyrics on Benny Golson's "Whisper Not." Her soli scatting with the horns reminds one of Mark Murphy's stellar '70s-era recordings.
Singer Kevin Mahogany joins Vitro on a cheeky "Blue Monk." The addition of some mellow bossa novas and two thoughtful ballads, one being Chet Baker's "For Heaven's Sake" round out an hour of music that's as tasty as it is versatile.
Kenny Werner, from Live At Maybeck ...