Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Olivia Foschi Perennial Dreamer 2013

Color and rhythm are probably not the first two words one associates with most vocalists but then again Olivia Foschi is not part of the cookie cutter mold currently being churned out by some labels. In fact, a major change up in stylistic approach occurred over a decade ago when give the chance to study classical Nepali voice. Musical inspiration can happen in the strangest places but the rewards here are many.

A true student of her craft and surrounded by a killer band including drummer Ulysses Owens Jr. as well as special guests George Maret on harmonica, Foschi takes a debut record into uncharted waters and sails through the bakers dozen song list with a fluid grace and organic spirit that truly part of an exciting jazz collective for this stellar recording. Many of the female singers I listen to are just that, "singers." Foschi may well be the epitome of what a vocal artist is and aspire to be. The synergy between the ensemble case, Foschi and the tunes have an ebb and flow that makes one wonder just where the time went. As a producer, Ulysses Owens Jr. is a beast so imagine his talent behind the kit for those unfamiliar with his prolific talent. Of the thirteen tunes, Foschi penned and or arranged five and they fit nicely with standards such as "Here's That Rainy Day" which opens Perennial Dreamer.

There is a slightly conceptual nature to this release with the expressed intent of taking the listener to a comfortable place and the effortless transformation of standards such as "Everything Happens to Me" is a perfect example of a more open ended approach that is intimate, natural and the reharm with this classic tune allows Foschi to own it while never disrespecting the original or hide her own unique gifts of phrasing, tone and inflection. Foschi also put lyrics to Hiromi's "Legend of the Purple Valley" and captures a vivid lyrical image of a sacred place deep inside us all if we are but willing to listen.

To be perfectly honest, I am a bit torched on the tightly clustered pack of female vocalists hanging out in the jazz idiom but if there is one talent that deserves a label shot it would have to be Olivia Fischi. My instincts tell me this is a "when" not "if" proposition.

Four out of Five Stars, Foschi hits her marks with impeccable timing and finesse and is a name to watch out for.

Tracks: Here's That Rainy Day; I Adore You; Disillusionment; Everything Happens To Me; Daydream; Alone Together; Bridge; Legend of the Purple Valley; A Gramadora; No Moon At All; My Ideal; Donna; Secrecy and Lies.

Personnel: Olivia Foschi: vocals; Miki Hayama: keys; Michael Olatuja: bass; David Rosenthal: guitar; Ulysses Owens Jr.: drums.

Special Guests: Gregoire Maret: harmonica; Mike Cottone: flugelhorn; Stacy Dillard: tenor saxophone; Cory Pesaturo: accordion.