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Beware of Spring

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Album Review

Meredith d'Ambrosio weaves more magic as she adds another album to her ever-growing vocal literature with the Sunnyside label. Like her previous release, Shadowland, she continues to engage in the unique practice of marrying one of her originals with a similarly themed standard. Some of the more engaging combinations are "Clearly Beloved," with her play on the words, "Dearly Beloved," and "I Had the Craziest Dream," with the natural follow on "I Can't Wait to Tell You." D'Ambrosio's songwriting skills are prodigious, by herself or with favorite collaborator Kevin Gibbs. On this latest release, even though she doesn't like to, she accompanies herself on three tracks, replacing husband Eddie Higgins. The scenario is far less heavy on this release, and more upbeat, as she works exclusively with just a rhythm trio renouncing the moody instruments of oboe, cello, and the rest of the instruments that were with her on Shadowland. But the smooth, simple, clear, cool, pensive delivery and the interpretive qualities that are uniquely hers are here. She uses vocalese as if holding a conversation rather than building the lyrics around a preexisting solo. There are times when she raises eyebrows with some an unexpected, off-center, but perfect fit note or phrase, such as at the end of "I Fall in Love Too Easily." "Estate," with the lyrics to this tune written by soulmate Susannah McCorkle, is one of the album's foremost tracks. Here and elsewhere on the session the strength of the partnership between her and Higgins manifests itself. Like d'Ambrosio's singing, Higgins keeps it simple, straightforward, and mellifluous. The bass of George Mraz gets some solo spotlight on this cut as well. Beware of Spring! is a notable addition to d'Ambrosio's growing personal musical library as a vocal interpreter and contributing composer.


Born: 1941 in Boston, MA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

A soft-toned singer whose intelligent interpretation of lyrics is always thoughtful, Meredith d'Ambrosio is also an effective accompanist as a pianist. Her father sang with big bands, while her mother played piano in nightclubs. At age six, d'Ambrosio began to study piano and sing. After graduating from high school and attending the Boston Museum School (1958-1959), she was a professional musician in addition to being a painter. In 1966, she was invited by John Coltrane to be part of his Japanese...
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Beware of Spring, Meredith d'Ambrosio
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