Colorado native Wendy Fopeano's second album brings together two studio sessions recorded in 1995 and 1998. Fopeano is one of several excellent treasures of jazz living and performing in and around the Rocky Mountain State. Others working out of that area are wunderkind pianist A. J. Salas, veteran guitarist Jerry Hahn, trumpet player Bob Montgomery, and singer Ellen Rucker, to single out just a few. Fopeano certainly belongs in this select group with her clear-as-a-bell soprano, delicate and impeccable phrasing and diction. Taking on a diverse play list of entries from the Great Songbook, jazz classics, adult pop, and some original material, she and her confreres provide more than an hour of pleasant and interesting listening, without making the music and its performance more challenging than it need be. "Beautiful Love" displays Fopeano's versatility. Like the jazz singer she is, Fopeano takes risks by sometimes abandoning the melody and by scatting effectively as she infiltrates the instrumental members of the group. A pleasing interchange between Kilian's bass and Jill Fredericksen's drums enriches this cut. Then there's the obligatory Latin tune. But instead of choosing one of the usual suspects, she has selected one of A. C. Jobim's lesser performed masterpieces, "Chega de Saudade," better known as "No More Blues." One of the more interesting cuts is Pat Metheny's "Always and Forever in My Mind," to which Fopeano adds lyrics, making it a much more attractive composition than it is without words. Kilian's guitar-like bass adds a touch of melodic meandering which enhances this track considerably. The singer is also lucky to have a pianist of Art Lande's skill and experience on board. He has performed with such notables as Gary Peacock as well as recording several albums of his own, mostly for the ECM label. The others backing Fopeano, while not as well known as Lande, perform with distinction. The only concern, and it is a relatively minor one, is that the up tempo pieces get a little frantic, like everyone is trying too hard. Nonetheless, this is a good second album and is recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan