Recorded in Sicily and joined by an excellent group of Italian musicians, Joan Cartwright has given listeners an eclectic menu of songs for her first solo album. There are a few standards, some blues-based material, and three songs penned by Ms. Cartwright. Her composition "Sweet Return" is the title tune for Freddie Hubbard's Atlantic Records album. Her "Loneliblue," which runs almost seven minutes, is a well-written, often witty, and sometimes clinical anthem to a lonely woman's search for a lover. Cartwright's songs have also been recorded by the Kool Jazz All Stars. This album kicks off with an up-tempo "Feelin' Good" and ends with a soulful rendition of Thelonious Monk's oft-recorded "Round Midnight," demonstrating that the husky-voiced Cartwright is perfectly comfortable with most any kind of tune. "Astrud" is Basia's paean to Astrud Gilberto and is delivered in a bossa nova beat. "Blues in the Pockets" is appropriately swinging and blues-driven. Throughout, Giovanni Mazzarino's spare, Count Basie-like piano and Oracio Maugeri's Dexter Gordon-inspired tenor sax provide sympathetic support to Cartwright. Now active on the South Florida jazz scene, with frequent performances in Europe, Ms. Cartwright is cutting if not a wide, certainly a respectable, swath through the jazz-vocal landscape.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan