RIYL: Sara Vaughan, Carmen McRae, Ella Fitzgerald, Cecile Mclorin Salvant, Jane Monheit, Sara Gazarek

Label: Self-Released

Sitting in a dark corner of a dim lit music lounge listening to the house band play through a Duke Ellington tune, the crowd cheers as they finish out the song. Casually stepping up to the stage as all but the pianist leave, is Gina Saputo. She looks back at Matt, snaps a few times in rhythm and then engages in a plexus of melodies and polyrhythms that is unheard of in a vocalist. On occasion, the crowd holds their collective breath as her vocal instrument seamlessly glides through the measures making the audience believe that the piano and her vocal cords belong together.

This is the effect that Los Angeles based Gina Saputo has; a smooth and technical sound that pushes the boundaries of what it means to be a jazz vocalist. This is most evident on her recent recording with Jeff Goldblum & The Midred Snitzer Orchestra’s new album, I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This. Her technique shines on “If I Knew Then”, walking hand in hand with the saxophone, choosing sounds that mimic the instrument but also highlighting the melody line and guiding you through to the end, leaving you wanting more.

But there is more. Gina enlists long time collaborator Matt Politano on piano to give us 11 new tracks highlighting the immaculate musicianship that is their Duetto. The album undulates between playful, methodological and vivacious, to moody, solemn and passionate, all the while providing a masterclass in complimenting and blending.

The album starts with “Aint’ Misbehavin'” leading us in with solo vocals from Gina, as Matt brings in the piano a few bars in. The classic song has an air of fondness while lightly bouncing along and accenting whimsical lyrics providing a light-hearted and enjoyable beginning to the album.

“I Didn’t Know What Time It Is” continues that feel from track 1, while “I Could Have Told You” takes us on a different, more melancholic avenue. The feeling portrayed by Gina is sorrowful and heartfelt, and Matt accents this with a wonderful mood through his piano work, overall a different experience than the Frank Sinatra version we’re use to.

One of my favorite tracks “A Foggy Day” brings us to the streets of London. Upbeat and fun, this song gives us a lovely balance of improvisation and youthfulness that was well needed after track 3.

“Love Me or Leave Me” and “Emily” finish out side A, providing the listener with beautiful melodies reminding us that there is just a piano and a vocalist engaging us. Matt shines bright on both of these with an amazingly enjoyable yet simple improvisation on the latter track.

Side B starts with “That’s All” bringing us back to the moodiness we felt with “I Could Have Told You” but more loving and nurturing, highlighting Gina’s rich sound. Another one of my favorites follows, “I’ve Never Been In Love Before” which perfectly compliment the previous song, harnessing the sheer delight of something new.

Towards the end of the album, Gina and Matt flexes her technicality and versatility with “I’m Scared”, a rare Sara Vaughan cut re-arranged by Gina, and “Lullaby of Birdland”. Lullaby’s arrangement is excellent, giving the listener a feeling of watching two birds overhead interweave their flight patterns in a beautiful and unyielding rhythmic sequence.

Appropriately ending the album with “Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone”, Gina and Matt really sound like they are enjoying themselves while recording this. It feels like a perfect end to the album and gives the listener the satisfaction portrayed.

The album is a first for Gina Saputo but definitely not the last. It’s uncomplicated, accessible, pure and full of beautifully arranged tracks that compliment each other similar to what the two artist are doing. The album is up for preorder on her website in dark “Rosso” red signed vinyl and is a must have for Jazz enthusiasts.

The Details

Approx. Shipping: Dec. 21st - 28th, 2019

EXCLUSIVE signed first pressing, Deep “Rosso” Red colored vinyl (limited to 250).

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Price $25

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