Leslie Orofino

Moonlight Cocktails

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Leslie Orofino has taken the cabaret act she dispatches at the Algonquin Hotel's Oak Room as the foundation for her first album. The play list is loaded with tunes in support of the album's theme, namely moonlight and all matters romantic or despairing associated with the light given off by that orb. Most of the tunes will be well-known to listeners. Others are not so familiar, including the rarely recorded "Blue Fool" and "Full Moon at Half Price." The latter is a classic torch song complete with the soulful sax of Aaron Heick moaning in the background. This track also features some very jazzy piano by Ross Patterson, who is also responsible for the arrangements. Orofino is a mature mezzo, who takes an occasional foray into the higher range. She has a noticeable vibrato which she uses to her advantage, especially on slow ballads which give added warmth to make her already-rich voice sound even fuller and more dynamic. The singer manages to impart such a high degree of eloquence to the songs she sings that one can picture how she comes across singing these tunes live and in person. There will likely be gestures which help to frame the mood she wants to impart to the audience with each song. Whether it be with a flamboyant, upbeat "Down With Love"; a hushed, heartfelt "My Foolish Heart"; or with a touch of the blues, as on "Is It Hot in Here," Orofino delivers all with ease and aplomb. Throughout the session, she is expertly backed by the similarly expressive and facile pianism of Ross Patterson with the now and then, but telling, appearance of Heick on tenor or flute. This album is solid cabaret and is recommended.

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