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Mercedes Hall: Pure Emotion

- CD Reviews

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Mercedes Hall: Pure Emotion

Featuring: Mercedes Hall on Vocals
Glafkos Kontemeniotis on Piano
Arturo O’Farrill on Piano (Track #3)
Frank Wagner on Bass
Kazi McCoy on Drums
Nate Birkey on Trumpet and Flugelhorn
Jerry Dodgion on Alto Sax and Flute
Peter Brainin on Tenor Sax
Bashiri Johnson on Percussion
David Moreno on Guitar

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 12, 2008

This CD is very “Saturday night”, with bluesy refrains that tease the soul. Mercedes Hall has assembled a fine ensemble, including Glafkos Kontemeniotis and Arturo O’Farrill on piano, Bashiri Johnson on percussion, Peter Brainin on tenor sax, and Jerry Dodgion on alto sax and flute, for 14 diverse tracks, some with generous instrumental solos.

Notable Tracks:

#4 – What Is This Thing Called Love - Composed by Cole Porter. This track starts with staccato scat and brings in wild, Latin-Brazilian percussion, whistles, flute, piano bass, and drums. This renowned standard is styled with mambo-samba, sassy vocals, and a trip to Rio.

#6 – Lover Man - Composed by Jimmy Davis, Ram Ramirez, James Sherman. Glafkos Kontemeniotis' piano accompaniment enhances this track with cool chords, as Mercedes Hall invites her “Lover Man” to join the festivities. Nate Birkey is widely featured in muted, brassy solos that ornament the vocals with class.

#11 - Everything But You - Composed by Duke Ellington, Harry James, Don George. Peter Brainin and Nate Birkey team for brassy swing, with Glafkos Kontemeniotis' rambunctious melody. This track is even danceable.

#12 - That Old Black Magic - Composed by Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer. Ms. Hall introduces her own brand of scat, mixed with spinning piano and sax. A familiar ballad becomes fascinating and fun, as Glafkos Kontemeniotis and Peter Brainin create a keyboard and tenor sax conversation.

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For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at