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Cristina Morrison Brings I LOVE to Somethin' Jazz Club, 10/25

Cristina Morrison brings songs from her new CD I LOVE, The Jazz Beat of Galapagos to Somethin' Jazz Club (212 E. 52nd St. 3Fl. NYC) on Thurs., Oct 25 at 9 p.m. Reservations are strongly recommended. Tickets are $20.

Cristina Morrison: Lyrics & vocals
Misha Piatigorsky: piano
Marcus Mc Laurine: Bass
Willar Dyson: drums
Peter Brainin: Sax

For more about Morrison, visit www.cristinamorrisonilove.com.

The debut solo jazz effort from singer/songwriter Cristina Morrison, I Love, introduces one of the most distinctively original vocal artists on the scene today. An accomplished actress, a graduate of the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Ms. Morison’s talent has been hailed as “chameleonic and versatile ” and she brings these same qualities to her music on an album that melds jazz, blues, folk and pop sensibilities of the U.S. with samba, bossa nova and other South American influences, in a unique mélange that is all her own. Born of mixed American and Ecuadorian parentage in Miami, Morrison has resided in Rome, Quito, the Galapagos Islands, Los Angeles and now New York City, resulting in a multicultural world view that is reflected in her music, which is informed by her myriad life experiences and keen observations into the nature of the human character.

Joining Morrison is a roster of first class New York Players, headed by the singer’s “partner in crime” saxophonist/composer Christian Hidrobo, a longtime colleague from her jazz band The Baroness & Her Lovers, who contributed the appealing melodies that accompany the singer’s own engaging lyrics, which are utterly cinematic in their vivid imagery. Accompanied by pianist Steve Einerson, bassists Marcus McLaurine (acoustic) and Alex Alvear (electric), drummer Willard Dyson and percussionist Sammy Torres in the stellar rhythm section, with saxist Hidrobo, trumpeter Walter Szymanski, guitarist Vinny Valentino and harmonica virtuoso Gregoire Maret supplying multihued backgrounds and compelling solos, Morrison embarks on an episodic musical journey that runs the gamut of emotions, joyous, sorrowful, exuberant and meditative. Pristinely recorded, the nine songs on I Love reach out and touch listeners’ minds, hearts and souls with messages that are simultaneously personal and universal.

The disc opens dramatically with Summer In New York, Szymanski blowing ominous muted trumpet over McLaurine’s slow bass ostinato conjuring nocturnal images of the city hearkened to in Morrison’s singing of her lyric, which begins “Corners, streets and alleys meet” and goes on to speak of “Lust and sex and human heat.” Vulnerability slowly swells to strength in Crisitina’s intoning of her story as the music moves from bluesy melancholy to joyous swing, propelled by Valentino’s soulful guitar on the spirited bridge that celebrates “Summer In New York/Summer’s sexy breeze/ Dancing on the river.” Einerson solos straight ahead over walking bass and riding cymbals before the singer slows the mood to take things out with a plaintive plea to “Make my lonely nights seem right.”

The soulful alto saxophone of Christian Hidrobo, reminiscent of David Sanborn’s Saturday Night Live days, introduces Fifteen Day Affair, recently written by Morrison in Galapagos after a shipwreck during a chilly winded winter night. Hidrobo’s powerfully cadenced melody calls to mind Aretha Franklin’s Natural Woman and Cristina sings with appropriate power. Gregoire Maret’s stirring harmonica solo contributes mightily to the mood of the piece, which concludes with an achingly beautiful sax statement by Hidrobo.

Einerson’s piano intro to Morrison and Hidrobo’s I Love, the date’s title track, sets the mood that evokes the sound and style of a standard from the Great American Songbook and Cristina sings and swings in the tradition as she recites a lengthy list of her many favorite things – including, to dance, to sing … to jam and drink all night …the wisdom in an old man eyes, and then most emphatically, “making love to you.” She rides along the with the trio’s pulsating rhythm, affecting various tones that rise to the song’s surprise ending.
Stand Still, begins rather deceptively with Maret’s somewhat melancholy harmonica played over a slow bass triplet reminiscent of A Love Supreme, before the band seamlessly segues into a swinging samba. Cristina breezes along brightly, singing her unabashedly romantic lyric that proclaims, “Dare to tell me/ that we’re not meant to be/in a state of love,” buoyed by the band’s vivacious rhythms and Maret’s virtuoso soloing.

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