Donatelli's tone is crystal clear, the key is adhered to in every song, remarkably she never goes off pitch which makes for a relaxed listening experience, to say the least. When one can listen without the impending doom of an off phrase, it is pure heaven
"Round Midnight" was sung as dusky as a thousand misty nights, Donatelli's interpretation of this tune was a tribute to Monk's fey underpinnings. It was a vocal portrait that brilliantly and starkly brought him to life. Chris Colangelo added dimension and color to the painting, Ralph Penland's broad brush strokes gave it the rhythm it needed and Tom Garvin simply gave it the finishing touches that enhanced an already soulful presentation.
A nice loping tempo was the hallmark of "The Thrill Is Gone" It was finger popping time, Nice happy feel to this tune.
"My Romance" started out as a torcher and wound up switching tempos and that brought forth pure swing from Donatelli. This was a super arrangement.The ensemble was sparkling in enhancing the vocal.
"Johnny Jazz" is a tune penned by Lenore Raphael, the acclaimed N.Y. Pianist. Raphael also wrote the lyric. This very hip piece (the vocal version) was introduced last night for the first time anywhere, and the gathered aficionados were duly impressed as evidenced by their enthusiastic reaction. Garvin's solo was a study in refulgency and the vital force of his soliloquy was breathtaking...... Colangelo was the stabilizer and Penland gently laid down his statement in a most pleasing manner...Denise Donatelli proved with this song that she is among the few that can perform a composition that truly represents the intent of the composer. Her phrasing was clever, She powerhoused the eight bars of the bridge with vitality, and the melody was given the rendering necessary to get this tune into orbit. In a word, it swung like the proverbial flying trapeze.
The first time that I saw Denise Donatelli in a performance, she sang "I Thought About You" and it was superb then and even better now. Denise Donatelli has a musical message that is hard to resist.
Michael D's was honored to have Miss Pinky Winters sit in for a truly noteworthy rendition of "Detour Ahead"... With a voice as smooth as silk and as luxurious as cashmere, Winters captivated the audience with her magnificent voice and relaxed style.
Judy Wexler treated the jazzophiles to "My Foolish Heart" in her turn on stage and she gave this old chestnut the respect it so richly deserves.
Mark my words, Denise Donatelli is a force to be reckoned with in the jazz world, she is a major talent with panache and grace. The best is yet to come.