Joanie Pallatto and Marshall Vente: Two
Joanie and Marshall present an eclectic collection of pop tunes, standards and jazz compositions that highlight their musical versatility as performers. Thoughtfully fashioned with a mix of planning and spontaneity, the selections run the listener through a range of emotions, from bright to dark. The ballads, especially, let both performers ably tap the well of their feelings. On the more rhythmic cuts, the groove is always comfortably relaxed with both performers hitting a nice laid back pocket.
Joanie, a consummate vocalist and musician, is hardly one to shrink from the possibilities of different and unorthodox treatment of familiar material. She embarks with Marshall song by song through wonderfully fresh and unexpected harmonic horizons. Vocally, she thinks like a musician. Her jazz improvising and scatting is totally natural, reminiscent of a venerable be-bop horn player. One never gets the idea of frenetic scatting to make an impression. Marshall complements her vocals by providing a range of different pianistic feels; from harmonically introspective turns, to gospel to whimsical to good old-fashioned hard swing. His harmonically extended intros and solos suggest an attachment to the interval of a perfect 4th that evokes memories of McCoy Tyner playing with Coltrane and of course, inevitably, Bill Evans—nice work.
Highlight cuts for me are the harmonically rich, emotional reading of "As Time Goes By;" the stark, plaintive "Light My Fire," set up by Marshall's adventurous intro; the light-hearted Latin groove that makes for a different "My Baby Just Cares For Me," and Joanie's wonderful jazz solo on "Cantaloupe Island," utilizing breath for percussive effect as a compliment to her vocal improvisation. Also well worth a highlight mention is their reading of "Stolen Moments." This is a CD that can be enjoyed listening casually or taking the time to dig in to the wealth of its' musical content.—Bobby Schiff
Available on the Southport label, widely distributed in Chicago stores or via their website www.chicagosound.com .