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Tom Lellis: Avenue of the Americas

- CD Reviews

Tom Lellis: Avenue of the Americas
2006 Beamtide Music


Tom Lellis on Vocals, Keyboard, Percussion, Voice Bass, Whistle
Toninho Horta on Guitar and Electric Guitar
Richard Bona on Electric Bass and Fretless Electric Bass
Gary Fisher on Piano and Keyboards, Cliff Almond on Drums
Jeremy Steig on Flute, Jorge Amorim on Percussion
Dave Kikoski on Piano, Kenny Werner on Piano
Tony Marino on Bass and Electric Bass, Tommy Campbell on Drums
Frank Colon on Percussion

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
July 20, 2006

This is a compilation of mostly original and collaborative tracks, plus those by Lennon/McCartney, Wright/Forrest, Brickus/Newley, Horta, Ashford/Simpson, and u2. Lellis stylizes in ballad, blues, and tropical variations, showcasing his instrumentalists in solos and ensemble. The dozen musicians create some magical sound, including exotic percussion, flute, and whistle. This recording is named for Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue, flowing downtown to midtown), and the percussive motif is evocative of the urban and ethnic mix.

Notable tracks:

#3 –Baubles, Bangles, and Beads – Composed by Wright/Forrest. The guitar and flute wistfully open this track, before Lellis softly sings along. The samba rhythm with Brazilian percussion seems connected to the 46th Street location – called Little Brazil. Lellis keeps his interpretation fluid and whispery, with extended final notes above fluttering flute.

#8 –A Choice of Fates – Composed by Tom Lellis. The exotic percussion merges with full orchestration and bluesy vocals. “Ocean surge, rivers merge, hearts converge…” Lellis has created effective lyrics that are sung in varying volume and an occasional hint of scat.

#9 –Isle Awhile – Composed by Brown/Lellis. A melodic piano draws the vocals in with nightclub nuance, as Lellis croons about stars, sun, and moon. This track is romantic, featuring Kenny Werner, who keeps the piano passionate but never overwhelming. Lellis adds keyboard vibes, with Tony Marino on bass and Tommy Campbell on drums.

#11 –Lucky Southern/Maracangalha – Composed by Jarrett/Lellis, Caymmi. Lellis opens with the band whistling, and this breezy song is one of his best. The vocals and guitar melt into a combined Brazilian mood, as Lellis switches to Portuguese. The whistling and lyrics fade into this tropical mix.

Another hot theater show this year is Tarzan Tickets, the upcoming Mary Poppins, the Pajama Game, as well as Threepenny Opera Tickets and other hot Broadway Shows.

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