Cristina Morrison: Baronesa
2015: Jazzheads, Inc.
Cristina Morrison on Vocals
Misha Piatigorsky on Piano, Keys, Percussion
Conor Rayne (Cajon)-Willard Dyson-Ari Hoenig-Rudy Royston on Drums
Danton Boller-Edward Perez-Sergio Brandão on Bass
Ron Affif-Mark Hermann on Guitar
Joel Frahm on Tenor and Soprano Saxophones
Tatum Greenblatt on Trumpet
Magnus Lindgren on Flute
Mauricio Herrera on Percussion
Victor Prieto on Accordion
Frederika Krier on Violin
Chorus: M. Piatigorsky, T. Greenblatt,
M. Herrera, A. Piatigorsky
Arrangements: Misha Piatigorsky
Recording and Mixing: Brian Montgomery
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 14, 2015
This CD is a tribute to Baronesa, a European woman who arrived in the Galapagos Islands during the late 1920’s and was soon embroiled in a drama of lovers. Cristina Morrison, actor, singer, lyricist, educator, and environmental-social activist, appeared in a docudrama about Baronesa, in the 1990’s. She has created this new album as an homage to Ecuador and the Galapagos. My own past travels in Ecuador and the Galapagos were evoked in the listening experience. This album presents eleven tracks, eight of which are original, with the remaining three “Cry Me a River”, “Corcovado”, and “Nuestro Juramento”. The original tracks are composed by Misha Piatigorsky, with Ms. Morrison’s lyrics. Among the impressive instrumental ensemble collaborating on this album, whom I have reviewed on these pages, are Victor Prieto on accordion, Joel Frahm on saxophones, Tatum Greenblatt on trumpet, and Misha Piatigorsky, composer and pianist. The additional collaborators are well chosen for the multicultural, musical genre, so inherent in the remarkable tunes.
#4 – Cry Me a River – Composed by Arthur Hamilton. This was the best interpretation of this ballad I’ve ever heard, with bluesy piano interludes, expanded vocal notes infused with longing, Conor Rayne’s percussive support, Danton Boller’s deep bass, and a compelling brass solo. The tonal and ambient variations in tempo and mood are intriguing.
#6 – La del Estribo – Composed by M. Piatigorsky / C. Morrison. This original composition is imbued with memories of the old Copacabana, with clavé, Salsa rhythms and brassy, tonal flashes. Ms. Morrison changes her style to sexy and sassy, singing in Spanish and heavily-accented English, for an upbeat aura. The inviting tune brings in Willard Dyson on drums and Edward Perez on bass.
#7 – Mi Amargo Placer – Composed by Composed by M. Piatigorsky / C. Morrison. The translation of this original tune’s title is “My Bitter Pleasure”. The entire track was my favorite, with Victor Prieto’s mesmerizing accordion theme emblazoned throughout the music. The yearning chords were evocative of Piazzolla’s bandoneón, searing and sensual. The Spanish lyrics (which could be translated on future album editions) added intense romanticism and vocal eloquence. Ms. Morrison has a wide vocal range, and this track brought out the strength and vibrancy of her talent.
#10 – Princesa Baronesa – Composed by Composed by M. Piatigorsky / C. Morrison. In this track we hear, in English, about the infamous Baronesa in a lyrical, breezy, original ballad. Sergio Brandão on bass, Ron Affif on guitar, Tatum Greenblatt on trumpet, Conor Rayne on drums, and the Chorus are all featured in the instrumentals, along with Misha Piatigorsky’s fervent piano accompaniment. The entire album ensemble was superb throughout, each featured on individual or multiple tracks.