Nancy Marano's magical voice has reached a new peak with Sure Thing. Recording with separate groups on the East Coast and West Coast, she covers a wide range of material, including standards, overlooked gems, and strong jazz compositions as well. Marano also wrote most of the arrangements herself, co-wrote the lyrics with Duncan Lamont to "Very Close to Love" (which is a vocal version of Tom Harrell's memorable bossa nova "Sail Away"), accompanies herself on piano during "Heart's Desire" and "The Man I Love," and composed the music and lyrics to the bittersweet "Easier to Say Goodbye." She is up to the challenge of the extremely difficult "The Bad and the Beautiful," a musical roller coaster that only a singer in Marano's class could keep on track. Pianist and arranger Michael Abene's several charts include the richly textured "My One and Only Love," during which the singer makes astute use of her wide range, an exotic take of Cole Porter's "So in Love," and the poignant ballad "The Night We Called It a Day," played as a waltz and accented by trombonist John Mosca's subtle solo. The topnotch supporting cast of musicians also includes pianist Mike Melvoin, bassists Michael Moore and Chuck Berghofer, and drummers Grady Tate and John Guerin. Highly recommended.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden