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L. A. Jazz Scene
Review by Jim Santella
From Start to finish, this session sizzles with the passionate emotion of a Brazilian street dance: a samba that’s designed to make everybody feel good and put their innermost feelings on display. Dancing, for most folks, remains a sure sign of what they’re feeling inside. Sharing that superb enjoyment with everyone else in the area, dancers create an aura of goodwill. And, to make things go along with her heart, Angela Hagenbach fills the spaces in between with meaningful ballad material that takes the place of dancing.
The album’s title track simmers eloquently as a slow, tender ballad, and so does most of the program. Hagenbach likes a moderate tempo that affords her plenty of time to get acquainted with a lyric. She’s expressive. But a part of the session carries a much brighter tone, steeped in samba and loaded with fire. That’s the case with “Cinnamon and Clove,” “I Will Wait for You” and “Sure as You’re Born.”
Along with pianist Tamir Handelman, double bassist Kevin Axt and drummer Bill Wysake, the singer moves with a mainstream jazz sensibility that does sincere justice to these songs by Johnny Mandel, Henry Mancini and Michel Legrand. Frank Marocco adds accordion to a driving “I Will Wait for You” with a soul-searching timbre that’s excited by the horns of Steve Wilkerson and Willie Murillo. Guitarist Lary Koonse adds a complementary guitar attitude on “Summer Me, Winter Me,” an even hotter guitar solo on “Sure as You’re Born,” and strings play a role on several tracks. Hagenbach works these mellow songs over thoroughly, squeezing every ounce of emotion from them and doing justice to the spirit of American song.