Sunday, April 11, 2010

Carol Sudhalter: The Octave Tunes

Carol Sudhalter has always been a bit of a Renaissance woman: playing and leading groups from duo to big band, collaborating with band mates from the U.S. and Italy, gigging overseas as well as at her home base in NY, being a multi-reeds player who doubles on flute, putting her own unique spin on familiar standards, and writing and performing original compositions.

Carol’s latest CD, Carol Sudhalter: The Octave Tunes, reflects the eclectic nature of her music. The title refers to the fact that each song has its own special opening leap. I’ve included my observations on a few of the tracks.

The first cut, “Flamingo,” given an Afro-Cuban treatment, features Carol’s ethereal but hard-driving flute, along with the exquisite piano of her young Italian protégé, Carlo M. Barile. On “Pancake Blues,” written by another fine Italian musician, Vido Di Modugno, who swings on organ, Carol showcases her earthy, old-school tenor. A soulful and moving vocal by Marti Mobin is the focus on “You Go to My Head,” where Carol contributes strong support with the interweaving lines of her bari, and her low-pitched notes cut straight to the heart.

It’s back to flute for “Alice in Wonderland,” along with Carlo on piano again. The sensitive interplay and soloing of the two instruments accentuates the wistful nature of the Disney song. In “Nature Boy,” Antonio Cervellino plays purring arco bass, and this time the pianist is the compelling Joe Vincent Tranchina. Carol contributes a heartbreaking flute solo before a return to the basic combination of arco and piano, with the occasional addition of flute accents. Another wonderful singer, Elena Camerin, is showcased with her romantic vocal to the beautiful Argentinian song, “Quisiera Ser.” Vito Di Modugno’s powerful organ is front and center for a moving reading of Billy Strayhorn’s “Daydream.”

To end the CD (and make it truly one for “all seasons”), are festive but off-the-beaten-track renditions of the Holiday Season standards, “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” and “The Christmas Song.”

These are just a few of the musical delights listeners can find on Carol Sudhalter: The Octave Tunes. There is no other recording, jazz or otherwise, quite like it. Carol Sudhalter and her fellow artists have managed to achieve fresh ways of performing familiar standards, as well as originals, and make this CD an enjoyable and fascinating listening experience from beginning to end.

For further information about Carol Sudhalter: The Octave Tunes click on this link. You can also learn about Carol Sudhalter's other recordings and gigs by going here.

An interview with Carol can also be found in my blogpost of Friday, July 24, 2009 ("And More Answers to the Two Questions.")

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