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Album Review

Roberta Gambarini is a breath of fresh air among female jazz vocalists. Gifted with superb clear diction, a warm engaging voice, and an uncanny ability to bring out the best in each song, Gambarini shines throughout this one-afternoon session, recorded without isolation booths, splicing, or overdubs. Her sole accompanist is the masterful pianist Hank Jones, a veteran who knows something about inspiring great vocalists with his inventive piano playing, having recorded with Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Anita O'Day, and Helen Merrill during a career that began over six decades prior to this session. The duo chose a wide-ranging mix of standards, show tunes, and jazz compositions (both familiar and lesser-known), along with some forgotten chestnuts of yesteryear. It is not surprising to learn that Gambarini and Jones entered the studio without a rehearsal or any arrangements, yet completed most of the 14 songs in a single take. "Stardust" is one of the most recorded works of all time, yet Gambarini recognizes the nuances within it and takes her time exploring each chorus, while Jones' elegant backing and delicious solo are flawless. Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life" is one of the most demanding jazz compositions, a melancholy ballad with an unusual structure that trips up many vocalists, but Gambarini takes her time with a deliberate interpretation that ranks with any previous vocal recording of it. Their magical rendition of the sentimental ballad "You Are There" (music by Johnny Mandel, lyrics by Dave Frishberg) seems like it would be a natural choice for a film soundtrack. "Deep Purple" may have fallen out of favor in modern jazz, but Gambarini and Jones reveal its timeless quality with a sparkling performance. She's in a playful mood in "You're Getting to Be a Habit with Me." This exceptional vocal/piano duo recording is clearly one for the ages.

Customer Reviews

You Must Hear This

When I listened to her first album I thought "Wow...this lady is phenomenal. She's got a deliciously rich tone and scats better than anybody since Ella." Now, after hearing her second album I'm thinking " could she possibly still be relatively unknown." We're incredibly lucky to be living at the time when Diana Krall, Sophie Milman, and Jane Monheit are all in their prime (not to mention Buble on the male side). Add Roberta Gambarini into the mix and I have to conclude that this is another golden age for vocal jazz. All the tracks on this album are a pleasure to listen to--just the thing to kick back and relax. The piano accompaniment by Hank Jones suits perfectly. This is a must-have album for any jazz enthusiast, but it would also be great mood music for a sophisticated, romantic evening.

Can not argue with dat!

Guess I am that guy: always devils advocate; "ya but what about . . ." and "this is the way it is . ." well you shut me up hear; I agree with every word of the guy who said we are living in a Golden age of jazz vocals and Roberta Gambarini is one for the top shelf.

You Are There....

Roberta sounds great. Also check out "You Are There" by Sarah Partridge. Great song!


Born: July 31, 1918 in Vicksburg, MS

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The oldest of the Jones brothers, Hank Jones has been a supreme accompanist and underrated soloist. He's among the most accomplished sight readers in jazz, and his flexibility and sensitive style have kept him extremely busy cutting sessions and working in various groups and styles ranging from swing to bebop. He's worked with vocalists, played in big bands and done many solo, trio, and combo dates. Born in 1918 in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Jones moved with his family to the Detroit area while still...
Full Bio
You Are There, Hank Jones
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