Evans and Coppola

Hold Back the Rain

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Vocalist Lucianne Evans and pianist Tom Coppola who live and perform in the picturesque North Carolina mountain city of Asheville and surrounding environs have with the help of friends cut their first studio album. Like so many other of today's aspiring jazz artists, this is a self-produced album with mixed results.

With a program of five up-tempo pieces, three Latin tunes with Latin rhythms, and four ballads, including one original (the title tune), vocalist Evans moves back and forth between straight singing and vocalese, sometimes within the same song as on "I'm in the Mood for Love." Her vocalese is put on best display with a couple of solos culled from performances by famous jazz stars of the past, Erroll Garner and Miles Davis. The Garner tune is "Where or When" from his most popular recording, Concert by the Sea. The Davis material Evans emulates comes on "I Fall in Love Too Easily" where she inserts her own lyrics on top of Davis' solo on "Seven Steps to Heaven." The former comes off better than the latter. One of the better tracks is a plaintive version of "Darn That Dream." Ralph Hamperian contributes a melodic plucked bass solo to make this one of the album's special tracks. On "East of the Sun," Evans shows she can scat without damaging the fabric of the music. The remaining tracks, while good, are not especially notable. Evans has a high-pitched voice with a slight nasal twang to it. She clearly articulates the lyrics, is very earnest in her style and delivery, and is notably more at ease with the ballad mode. On the upper-tempo material she sounds frantic. Tom Coppola and his piano accompaniment fit Evans' singing like a favorite, comfortable slipper, which is to be expected given their long association. Their various friends on the set play with distinction. This album is pleasant enough, but not outstanding.

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