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The Leonisa Ardizzone Quartet: Afraid of the Heights

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The Leonisa Ardizzone Quartet: Afraid of the Heights
(Leonisa Ardizzone Website)
2006 ardijenn music

Leonisa Ardizzone on Vocals
Chris Jennings on Guitar
Bob Sabin on Bass
Justin Hines on Drums


Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 12, 2009

This CD is a selection of original tunes, standards, and new arrangements and lyrics to familiar ballads. Leonisa Ardizzone sings in an upbeat fashion, sometimes in scat. The musicians are masters of the genre, with Chris Jennings showcased generously in guitar solos and improvisational backup. Bob Sabin on bass and Justin Hines on drums also create some riveting listening, adding earthy and percussive takes on tone and rhythm.

Notable tracks:

#1 – Anthropology – Composed by Parker, lyrics by Harrison. The recording opens with Leonisa Ardizzone’s rapid lyrics that melt into scat, sung almost a cappella, with Jennings’ single string accompaniment. Hines’ drums rush in, as scat ensues, before Jennings takes a skillful, solo riff. Hines gets a percussive riff of his own, that leads into Leonisa’s rapidly sung finale.

#2 – Afraid of the Heights – Composed by Hines. Leonisa’s moody vocals lead this song about living in Washington Heights. It’s a positive, urban, and entertaining song, with a whistling solo, accompanied by guitar, that soon takes the lead.

#4 – Triste – Composed by Jobim. A busy Rio rhythm breezes through Leonisa’s lyrics, sung in Portuguese and English. The Brazilian standard becomes danceable and dream-able, with Jennings’ lengthy riff transporting the theme through engaging improvisation.

#9 – Nature Boy – Composed by Ahbez. This track highlights Sabin’s bluesy bass accompaniment and Leonisa’s vocal qualities, sung against percussive flourishes. Sabin provides essential earthiness to the melancholy mood. Later, in a tempo switch, Jennings’ guitar drives a wild rhythmic ride, ending on a flurry of swing.

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