Meredith d'Ambrosio

Out of Nowhere

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Fans of typically understated, soft-voiced D'Ambrosio should expect the music they hear on this recording based on past performances. It's a set of love songs with acoustic backing done in candle-lit fashion. There's a bit more energy here than on previous CDs, thanks to pianist Lee Musiker's occasionally extroverted, generally dynamic playing, as well as the urging from expert rhythm mates Jay Leonhart on bass and Terry Clarke on drums. Of course, there's your typical stack of ballads, sung professionally by D'Ambrosio. "All This and Heaven Too," "My Foolish Heart," "Easy Come, Easy Go," "Isn't That the Thing to Do?," "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," and her lone original "I Will Follow Spring" follow along pleasantly predictable lines, every other track. More atypical is the voice-piano intro to trio bursting out during the course of "All in Fun." There are two easily swung blues-inflected pieces: "The Song Is Ended" with a traipsing do do do coda, and "What's Your Story, Morning Glory?" which sports that old-time feeling, heightened by Michael Leonhart's muted trumpet. The band sweetly swings the caffeinated title track with more oomph courtesy of Musiker's fuel-injected piano, while exploring nifty interplay, feeding off of each other and M. Leonhart's trumpet solo during "On the Bumpy Road to Love." These two cuts, and the red-light-green light accents of "Stoppin' the Clock" bring D'Ambrosio out of her rosy colored comfort zone and into some new (for her) expressionism -- a welcome treat. At her most convincing, as she sings the lyric of "Dance Only With Me," she is not so much singing a siren's song as one of an easy-to-love, compellingly honest soul-mate, alongside J. Leonhart's bowed bass solo, which is hard to ignore, dismiss, or forget. D'Ambrisio's consistency over her growing discography is impressive, and she shows signs of cracking, if not breaking the mold. Though an out-and-out bebop scat CD is probably not in the offering (not her style), the artist continues to show growth which marks her as a unique and individualistic singer.

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