Saturday, August 20, 2016

Corinne Mammana: “Under An August Moon” (2016) CD Review

Jazz vocalist Corinne Mammana turns to some familiar numbers for her excellent debut EP, Under An August Moon, giving the songs her own personal spin. She is joined by accomplished guitarist Frank DiBussolo, who also co-produced and arranged these tracks. Corinne is also joined by David Leonhardt on piano, Bruce Kaminsky on bass, Lorenzo Branca on drums, and Gregory Edwards on clarinet and tenor saxophone.

The EP begins with a Cole Porter song, “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To,” a song that has been covered by Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, among others. Corinne’s rendition opens with some beautiful guitar playing by Frank DiBussolo. Then Corinne Mammana’s vocals, at first soft and intimate, soon gain a joyous power, like she gains confidence in her suit, in the idea of coming home to this other person, perhaps knowing she’s won him over. There is an interesting change near the end, returning to a theme on guitar similar to that which began the track, but this time with Corinne’s beautiful vocals. And that might be my favorite moment of the song. By the way, this is also the song that gives the CD its title.

Corinne follows that with “A Wink And A Smile,” a tune from the film Sleepless In Seattle (but don’t hold its presence in a Nora Ephron movie against it). This rendition by Corinne Mammana features some wonderful work on piano by David Leonhardt. And Corinne’s vocal approach is sweet and playful. There is a wide smile in her voice here, a smile you will likely soon find yourself sharing. And that instrumental section with the lead on clarinet by Gregory Edwards is delicious. I also love that work on bass by Bruce Kaminsky. “We’re so far away from yesterday.”

Corinne covers “Baubles, Bangles And Beads,” using it to take us on a sweet and mellow bossa nova journey, her voice accompanied by Frank DiBussolo on guitar. And it is the guitar solo partway through that really shines. The EP then concludes with “On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe,” a tune sung by Judy Garland in The Harvey Girls. I love what Corinne does with this song, opening it with a great bass line and prominent hi-hat. Then this one becomes a fantastic, very cool, kind of slow groove. I love that instrumental section, featuring a great piano part, which is followed by sax, a delightful surprise, and then guitar, at which point I am hoping they can find a few more instruments lying around in order to extend this one indefinitely. As wonderful as that instrumental section is, Corinne’s vocals drive the song. She does a lot with her voice on this track, going from intimate moments where she almost whispers to moments where she rises to great peaks, always demonstrating a control without ever sounding too tight or sacrificing a feel of spontaneity. This is my personal favorite of the CD.

CD Track List
  1. You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To
  2. A Wink And A Smile
  3. Baubles, Bangles And Beads
  4. On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa FE
Under An August Moon was released on August 12, 2016.

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