AMY CERVINI, DIGGING ME DIGGING YOU

For lovers of great jazz vocalists, a voice as original as the late Blossom Dearie’s remains distinctive to this day and just as delightful.  Her relaxed style and clever delivery is echoed by singer Amy Cervini on “Digging You Digging Me,” (Anzic) a tribute recording where she culls her favorite Dearie tunes and gives them a twist with beefed up contributions from some of New York’s best jazz musicians. The ensemble is anchored by pianist Bruce Barth and includes bassist Matt Aranoff, drummer Matt Wilson, clarinetist Anat Cohen and her brother, trumpeter Avishai Cohen, a cello section, with vibes and percussionist James Shipp -- all of it recorded in spectacular fashion by James Farber.

Cervini has a charming left-of-center voice that never mimics Dearie but respectfully honors her, from the perky, Broadway flavored “Everything I’ve Got” and bossa nova swoon of “I’m Shadowing You” to the wistful, cabaret confessional “I Like You, You’re Nice.” Cervini infuses Dearie’s best tunes (“Rhode Island,” “My Attorney Bernie,” “Down With Love”) with a joyful effervescence that’s emotionally honest and affirming, even as she tackles a croaker like “Doodlin’ Song.” But Cervini plays it straight, without irony or a wink, and makes it work. The album also succeeds from Cervini’s partnership with pianist Barth, especially when they reframe Dearie’s signature tune, “Tea For Two,” making it a whole lot bigger and nearly twice as nice. (13 tracks; 47:18 minutes)

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JAZZ IN SPACE: AMY CERVINI, DIGGING ME DIGGING YOU

Friday, February 24, 2012

AMY CERVINI, DIGGING ME DIGGING YOU

For lovers of great jazz vocalists, a voice as original as the late Blossom Dearie’s remains distinctive to this day and just as delightful.  Her relaxed style and clever delivery is echoed by singer Amy Cervini on “Digging You Digging Me,” (Anzic) a tribute recording where she culls her favorite Dearie tunes and gives them a twist with beefed up contributions from some of New York’s best jazz musicians. The ensemble is anchored by pianist Bruce Barth and includes bassist Matt Aranoff, drummer Matt Wilson, clarinetist Anat Cohen and her brother, trumpeter Avishai Cohen, a cello section, with vibes and percussionist James Shipp -- all of it recorded in spectacular fashion by James Farber.

Cervini has a charming left-of-center voice that never mimics Dearie but respectfully honors her, from the perky, Broadway flavored “Everything I’ve Got” and bossa nova swoon of “I’m Shadowing You” to the wistful, cabaret confessional “I Like You, You’re Nice.” Cervini infuses Dearie’s best tunes (“Rhode Island,” “My Attorney Bernie,” “Down With Love”) with a joyful effervescence that’s emotionally honest and affirming, even as she tackles a croaker like “Doodlin’ Song.” But Cervini plays it straight, without irony or a wink, and makes it work. The album also succeeds from Cervini’s partnership with pianist Barth, especially when they reframe Dearie’s signature tune, “Tea For Two,” making it a whole lot bigger and nearly twice as nice. (13 tracks; 47:18 minutes)

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