BWW CD Reviews: Donna Vivino's BEAUTIFUL DREAMER is Beautifully Zen
Like many, I was first introduced to Donna Vivino's voice as she belted "The Wizard and I" as Elphaba in WICKED's First National Tour. As did much of America, I quickly fell in love with her unique voice. Now, she has released a much anticipated first solo album, in which she puts an enticing and jazzy novel spin on 13 recognizable songs ranging from Broadway and Hollywood standards to the hits of Tin Pan Alley. Producing the album is her father Jerry Vivino, the veteran New York musician and longtime member of the Conan O'Brien house band.
Mitchel Forman's mature and smooth arrangements swing and pulsate with a liveliness that is reminiscent of the dulcet jazz one might hear during a peaceful Sunday brunch. Each composition is spirited enough to get toes tapping and hips swaying, but in a decidely low-key, relaxing way. The pieces by Mitchel Forman, featuring Donna Vivino on vocals, Jerry Vivino on flute, alto flute, tenor saxophone, and clarinet, Mitchel Forman on piano and keyboards, Kevin Axt on upright bass and acoustic bass guitar, and Ray Brinker on drums and percussion are simply chill and incredibly beautiful because of it.
Across the disc, Donna Vivino's radiant voice is wholly enchanting. She sings with tangible personality, bringing charm and charisma to every track. Utilizing her supple mezzo-soprano instrument, Donna Vivino showcases impressive control and sings each note with a stirring decadence. With her tender renditions of these beloved classic, every song on the disc is lovely; however, my favorites are "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," "Castle on a Cloud," "Rainy Days and Mondays," and "Beautiful Dreamer."
The jazzy and peaceful BEAUTIFUL DREAMER is a triumphant debut album that showcases one of America's favorite Broadway voices. The album really brings audiences to a serenity that keeps them engaged with the music but allows for a zen tranquility to permeate the air.
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Image courtesy of Ghostlight Records.