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by Ron Sagye La Rue

Grace Lieman,soprano
Amanda Martindale,Mezzo-Soprano
Charmmaine Clamor,Contralto
Michael Konik,Tenor
Bobbie Garcia,Bass/Baritone

Andy Howe,Piano,Vibraphone,Marimba, Sequencing
Chris Conner,Bass
Ken Park,Drums,Percussions
Glenn Garrett,Saxophone,Flute
John Pisano,Guitar

AT present the climate for Jazz singers is quite agreeable,for individual female and male singers alike. Be they standing at a microphone or accompanying themselves at a piano etc. But how many vocal Jazz groups can you name? Some? None? Well,CRESCENDO is one!
And they've recently released their debut CD a DEVON records production. A quintet of three females,two males--I MUST FIRST SAY THEY CAN S-I-N-G!!! The engineering,sound quality is excellent.

All the voices are captured at their best whether together creating wonderful five-part harmony,soloing or singing "A cappella". CRESCENDO takes you through a program(52:43) of fifteen songs that is actually a sonic Jazz history lesson. Delving into the archives "Night and Day" Cole Porter's classic from the 1920s.George Shearing's "Lullaby of Birdland" from the 1940s,and covering the Bossa Nova classic "Quite Nights of Quite Stars" also known as "Corcovado" by Jobim. There is enough variety to satisfy anyone's vocal needs or moods. The CD opens with "Night and Day" with Mike and Amanda scatting good strong harmony on this up-tempo number.

All of Me, show off the females in unison trio as does the males in duo. Before they all harmonize together and there's a nice piano solo by Andy Howe. Grace takes strong solo on My Romance in A cappella. "The Girl From Ipanema" is a feature for Mike Konik he sings in Portugese then switches to English and does a wonderful job. On this cut a pianist Howe overs with his marimba which brings about a very exotic South American feel to the piece. "In the Mood" puts you in a 1940s era--The Andrews Sisters plus two guys? Want to "Lindy Hop" They had good harmony so does CRESCENDO! "Smile" is all A Capella and they pull it off. Charmaine handles the solo on "I'm in The Mood For Love" She literally "breathes love" into this age-old standard you "feel" the lyrics on this ballad. Saxman Glenn Garret contributes some"breathy" sounds as well! Charmaine makes you want to be in love if yoour not already!

"Quite Nights" Bobbie Garcia founder of the group gets a spotlight feature,he has a smooth firm solid voice. You here him throughout the CD like a baritone sax in saxophone section holding it all together. CRESCENDO sounds very good together as a vocal ensemble and its refreshing to hear a new vocal grouping of voices like this.
The supporting musicians give excellent support over the entire CD.
This is there first CD I hope they do many more. I only hope they get the exposure they deserve...and that's a lot!!!

published 12.10.2005 2005 jazz news :: home page

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