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So In Love

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Album Review

It seems incredible that Roberta Gambarini didn't win the Thelonious Monk Jazz Vocal Competition but she was new to the U.S., having just arrived from her native Italy. But with each new release, she has demonstrated that she is easily the most accomplished vocalist of the competitors for the prize, while pianist Hank Jones, who knows a thing or two about great singers, refers to her as the "greatest vocalist to come along in the past 60 years." With a rhythm section rotating between three talented up-and-coming pianists Tamir Hendeman, Eric Gunnison, or Gerald Clayton) plus veteran bassists George Mraz, Neil Swainson, or Chuck Berghofer and seasoned drummers Jake Hanna, Al Foster, Jeff Hamilton, or Montez Coleman, Gambarini works her magic with familiar standards and a few unexpected choices. She has a love of Cole Porter's songs, opening with a touching, richly textured "So in Love," a virtual rhapsody in a duet with piano. She restores the oft-omitted verse to "Get Out of Town" then delivers a driving rendition that shows off her gift for interpreting a song that has likely been recorded by all vocal jazz greats who have preceded her, proving she belongs in their company; she is joined by the soft tenor sax of James Moody. Her rapid-fire scatting is a highlight of her brisk treatment of "From This Moment On." Gambarini is also very comfortable looking outside of jazz for material, adapting Willie Nelson's "Crazy" with a master's touch, with subtle trumpet added by Roy Hargrove, while she has equal success with a medley of Beatles songs, including a moving "Golden Slumbers" that segues into a breezy "Here, There and Everywhere." But Gambarini's hilarious lyrics for Johnny Griffin's blues "The JAMFs Are Coming" (retitled "You Ain't Nothin' But a J.A.M.F.") prove to be the big surprise, showing off her incredible scatting range and sense of humor, though like a true lady, she never specifies what Griffin meant by a JAMF (hint: an acronym starting with "Jive Ass"). Roberta Gambarini continues to shine brightly as one of top jazz vocalists of her generation with this outstanding release.

Customer Reviews

Roberta is For Real!

I started listening to Jazz when I was twelve and, let's just say, that was a very long time ago. Late in my radio career, I talked the brass at the Adult Contemporary station where I was working into letting me host a Jazz program on Saturday evenings. Real Jazz, not the watered down stuff they call "soft". It actually became the highest rated segment of the week! I had the honor of interviewing such greats as Nancy Wilson, Tony Bennet, Dakota Staton, Max Roach, Billy Taylor, Illinois Jacquet and about thirty others of that magnitude so I know whereof I speak. When I heard Roberta's first album I couldn't believe my ears. With so much commercialization of wannabes in recent years, to hear a young lady with such a high level of musical savvy was like feeling a cool breeze wash over you on a sizzling beach. Ya -- refreshing. I thought she might have been trying a little too hard and hoped there would be more albums and a lasting career, undiscovered by the dark forces that have taken such a tragic toll on all too many great musicians. So far, so good. "So In Love" is proof that Roberta is for real, the genuine article. She is discovering more of her own voice, yet, judiciously sprinkling just a smidgeon of the Carmen McRae, Nancy Wilson and Ella influences my ear detected in her first album. Here she sounds a bit more relaxed and nearly as at home as she is on "You Are There" with Hank Jones. If contemporary Americans actually discover something besides homogenized, prepackaged Pop Rock, just maybe, we won't lose her back to Europe. Only time and taste will tell. Meanwhile, may Roberta keep her nose clean, her powder dry -- and be true to herself and her art form. She's packin' dyn-o-mite!

The Real Deal

I have seen Roberta live and she sounds just as good live as she does here. If you just listen to her voice and check out the fellas she is playing with on her 3 albums to date (old school greats James Moody, Hank Jones, etc) it is not hard to break the code. Roberta Gambarini is "the real deal". ENJOY !

strong rich voice

Roberta is very, very good. She's similiar sound to Sarah Partridge, another fabulous jazz vocalist. Lot's of great new music lately!


Born: 1972 in Torino, Italy

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Born and raised in Turin, Italy, to music-loving parents (who had actually first met at a jazz concert), Roberta Gambarini grew up listening to her father's record collection constantly. Her first vocal inspiration was Louis Armstrong, but she soon discovered Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, and Billie Holiday, as well as blues artists like Mahalia Jackson and Bessie Smith. At age 12 she began playing the clarinet, but realizing the versatility and talents of her clear alto, she moved...
Full Bio
So In Love, Roberta Gambarini
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Jan 01, 2009

Customer Ratings