AN OPEN DOOR: 6.22.18 Dori Rubbicco and the John Harrison Quintet release STAGE DOOR LIVE! on Whaling City Sound
Dori Rubbicco’s musical marriage with John Harrison is the perfect arrangement. While Dori explores the nearly spiritual meaning of some of her well-chosen covers and original compositions, Harrison does his own exploration on piano, laying down lovely melodies for Rubbicco to fall back on. Harrison and his band are wonderful here, and Rubbicco’s interpretive styles serve as the ideal complement.
Emotional, magical, and unmistakably original, STAGE DOOR LIVE! was recorded at New Bedford’s intimate Zeiterion Theater. The backdrop is ideal for such a captivating live session. As a singer-songwriter inspired by the likes of Joni Mitchell—which makes perfect sense given her penchant for ambitious musical searching—as well as vocal stylists like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, Dori understands the power of both style and substance and her performance conveys that power to the audience. Her set list is full of unique interpretations and elegantly imagined covers, revealing an artist able to both compose and interpret with equally successful results.
The band, Harrison’s quintet, is excellent; full of melodic romanticism and jazzy chops. Bill Miele plays the bass, Yoron Israel on drums, Donn Legge on guitar, Bryan Steel on the saxes, and Ian Rubbico Legge (notice the surnames!) on cello. Harrison leads with his customary elegance. It’s traditional without being too staid. Straight-up without being reserved. It helps that Dori finds her way through the instruments with her probing vocals.
Both Dori and Harrison have performed across the country, together and separately. Rubbicco has worked as a solo singer-songwriter and with groups, including the Miami Jazz Ensemble, the Gerald Wiggins Trio, and the Blues Train Band. Her work here with Harrison brings out the best in both artists, with Harrison’s extraordinary piano laying lush melodies down for Dori to revel in, on covers like “Imagine” and “I Can See Clearly, ” and Jobim’s “Two Kites, ” as well as an entertaining original, “Right Here Waiting.”
Love the band’s dulcet tones as they cascade over the audience and then hit “Repeat.”