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On A Cloud

Artist: Diana Torti

Date of Release: 25/01/2019

Catalogue no: SLAMCD595

Label: SLAM

Price: £9.50

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Diana Torti - voice
Sabino de Bari - classical guitar

The extraordinary jazz singer of the avant-guarde tradition Jeanne Lee has long been the subject of the music and literary works of Diana Torti, jazz singer and composer. This dedication marks the 80th year since the birth of Jeanne Lee on 29 January 1939 with the respect and admiration of one artist for another. It is the third SLAM CD to feature Diana Torti, this time as leader, following her work with Lucia Ianniello on SLAMCD 566 & 585.

Diana writes:
“On a Cloud” is a project born during a passionate music and vocal research focused on the figure of Jeanne Lee, wonderful singer of the avant-garde Jazz. She has been a courageous artist and pioneer of an innovative way of singing in Jazz music starting from the Sixties. The CD will be released on the occasion of the celebration of the 80th anniversary of her birth in January 2019 in homage to this extraordinary musician and poetess.
The repertoire draws on standards, improvisations and original compositions inspired by Jeanne Lee’s world of sounds. The choice of the duo, voice and classical guitar, is an ideal dimension to re-elaborate the poetic, refined and intimate atmosphere of Lee's music.
The ensemble that includes besides me (voice) also the guitarist and composer Sabino de Bari (classical guitar), has over time developed and matured a consolidated artistic alchemy. In our music both improvisation and composition are experienced as an expressive possibility out of any stylistic connotation. Timbres, words, noises and breaths merge, chase or dance together freely, to evoke suggestions and sound images.

TRACKS:
1) Misterioso (Thelonious Monk, Gertrude Stein, Diana Torti) 5:04
2) Straight Ahead (Abbey Lincoln) 4:13
3) Raskòlnikov (Sabino de Bari) 5:16
4) In These Last Days (Jeanne Lee) 3:58
5) The Man Of The Sea (Diana Torti) 5:30
6) The Seagulls Of Kristiansund (Mal Waldron) 8:12
7) Honeysuckle Rose (Fats Waller) 4:01
8) Fireflies (Diana Torti, Sabino de Bari) 3:43
9) On A Cloud (Diana Torti) 5:44
10) Cavalcando (Diana Torti) 2:38

 

Reviews

 

01/03/2019 Brian Morton

It was a relief to open the gatefold halfway through listening to this and encountering the name of Jeanne Lee, since that is exactly what I had been thinking since the first few uncanny measures of “Misterioso”. The title is taken from a comment by Jeanne’s daughter Cavana, who said that’s how she felt when she first heard her mother sing. The Newest Sound Around recordings Lee made with Ran Blake have been in circulation again, which makes this music seem all the more urgently of the moment. Torti and her collaborator – interesting to hear a guitar rather than piano accompaniment – have gone right to the heart of the Lee/Blake collaboration, with its nourish intimacies and brave harmonic manoeuvres.
I was taken aback by “Raskolnikov”, which offers an unusual sense of Dostoevsky’s anti-hero, if that, indeed, was the intention, but forget the title and it’s a dazzling vocal performance over a wonderful low, burbling line from de Bari. I love to distraction Mal Waldron’s “The Seagulls of Kristiansund”, so was delighted to hear arrangement of another musician who understood singers inside out. Jeanne Lee’s own “In These Last Days” (you maybe know the version with Andrew Cyrille and Jimmy Lyons) was a super-brave choice and she pulls it off magnificently. Likewise her own titular tribute.
But the wonder of this set, heard a second and third time, is the sheer range of sound de Bari gets out of his classical guitar, which seems to have as many tonal and textural personalities as there are songs here. He has it sounding like a bass, a plucked cello, a piano, a flamenco guitar, all within a few minutes; astonishing.
Not your average chanteuse album and not a Broadway song in sight. Don’t miss out on it because of that. It’s worth an hour of anyone’s time.
Brian Morton, Jazz Journal March 2019.

 

21/02/2019 Suzanne Lorge

When Italian singer Diana Torti first heard
Jeanne Lee she had an epiphany: singers could explore
the uncharted terrain of free material too. Torti, an
imaginative improviser who responds easily to musical
impulse in the moment, just released her sixth album,
On A Cloud (SLAM), featuring classical guitarist Sabino
de Bari accompanying her on standards (“Honeysuckle
Rose”) and originals inspired by Lee’s work
(“Fireflies”). Torti’s fresh sound—open and lilting—
pays a notable homage to Lee’s vocal tradition in what
would have been the singer and poet’s 80th birthday
year. In explaining her fascination with Lee, Torti
writes, “We should revisit her story, hoping to see the
reissue of some of the albums where she has
collaborated—the beauty of sharing will be enriched
with further treasures.” Torti’s new release goes a long
way toward that enrichment.
Suzanne Lorge MARCH 2019 | THE NEW YORK CITY JAZZ RECORD

 

16/02/2019 Guido Festinese

The vocalist Diana Torti tells: “The first time that I heard Jeanne Lee’s voice I felt like I was on a cloud”. The phrase was originally told her by Jeanne Lee’s daughter, talking about relationship with her mother. And a vaporous cloud of wonder without fear of crossing avant-garde lands is Torti's recording for her, On a cloud, which travels accompanied only by Sabino de Bari's classic guitar inventiveness, published by SLAM Records on the occasion of the celebration of the 80th anniversary of Lee’s birth. Guido Festinese, Alias “il manifesto” 16th February 2019
Racconta la vocalist Diana Torti : “La prima volta che ho sentito la voce di Jeanne Lee mi sono sentita su una nuvola”. La frase le era stata detta in origine dalla figlia stessa di Jeanne, parlando dei rapporti con sua madre. E una nuvola vaporosa di meraviglia senza paura di attraversare anche terre d’avanguardia e’ il disco di Torti per lei, On a cloud, che viaggia accompagnata solo dall’inventiva chitarra classica di Sabino de Bari, pubblicato da Slam Records in occasione di quello che sarebbe stato l’ottantesimo compleanno di Lee. Guido Festinese, Alias “il manifesto” 16th February 2019

 

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