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Vitro Review LA Times
Friday, June 8, 2001
Vitro Keeps Bill Evans in Her Thoughts Until Blues Surface
By DON HECKMAN, Special to The Times
Roseanna Vitro's Texas blues roots didn't surface until the very end of
her first set at the Jazz Bakery on Tuesday night. Prior to that, she devoted
a substantial portion of her program to songs from her new recording,
"Thoughts of Bill Evans."
As the title indicates, the material is a collection of tunes in which
words have been added to some classic Evans compositions. And Vitro did an
effective job with the vocally demanding twists and turns of melodies that
were originally conceived as pianistic expressions. Her most successful
efforts--at the Bakery, as on the recording--were with lighter, more rhythmic
numbers such as "Funkallero" (with lyrics by singer Karen Gallinger, who also
has recorded her own versions of Evans' songs).
Vitro's warm, expressive voice was equally well displayed during an
imaginative rendering of the Hammerstein/Romberg classic, "Softly, as in a
Morning Sunrise." Here her interaction with her musicians--pianist Shelly
Berg, bassist Trey Henry and drummer Adrian D'Souza--was the effort of a
seasoned professional. Starting in a duet passage with Henry, she gradually
worked her way into the tune, climaxing with a brisk, spirited scat section.
Her romp through Benny Golson's "Whisper Not" was also delivered with
lighthearted swing, its impact diminished a bit when Vitro and Berg couldn't
quite get together on the riff-like passages in the song's middle
section--one of the hazards of too-brief rehearsal time.
And what about those Texas blues roots? They burst through the
proceedings full force when Vitro decided--apparently with complete
spontaneity--to do "down and dirty blues." Singing with great confidence, her
lush sound now tinged with a slight but appropriate edge, she cruised easily
through the roiling shuffle rhythms characteristic of Texas blues style.
It's not likely that Vitro, well into her third decade as a jazz-based
singer, will ever seriously revert to her rock origins. But, to paraphrase a
current automobile commercial, she wouldn't, but she could.
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