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Recent Listening: Linda Ciofalo

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As always, the Rifftides staff is trying to keep up with new releases. It can't be done; the inflow never ceases and listening time is at a premium, but in the next few days we'll alert you to a few.

Linda Ciofalo, Dancing With Johnny (Lucky Jazz Music). The dancing partner of the title is Johnny Mercer.Ciofalo applies her smooth, rangy voice and flexible phrasing to some of his best-known lyrics. She interprets Mercer beautifully, capturing the joy and irony he intended in “Tangerine," the ache in “Early Autumn" the tenderness of “I Remember You" and—throughout—the essences of 13 Mercer songs. Pianist John DiMartino heads the excellent rhythm section, which applies occasional Latin or rockish touches. On some tracks, trumpeter Bryan Lynch and saxophonist Joel Frahm provide ensemble support and superb solos. Melisma slightly overburdens some of Ciofalo's vowels. The drummer is heavy on the backbeat in spots. Those are minor distractions. This is a theme album worthy of its inspiration.

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This story appears courtesy of Rifftides by Doug Ramsey.
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