A beautiful collection of Sonic-Twist’s gentle and atmospheric sound excursions. This duo is very relaxing.
Label: Muse Eek
Release Date: 2019
Judi Silvano | vocals
Bruce Arnold | guitar
“This is the second disc from Judi Silvano and Bruce Arnold. To call Ms. Silvano just a jazz singer would be misleading since, as this disc shows, there is quite a bit more going on here than one might imagine. We can still hear her jazz background but she is still stepping into another world, rather mysterious sounding. Her voice on “Ingenue” is lovely, warm, dreamy sounds without words. Mr. Arnold also plays solemn, spacy echoplex guitar chords underneath. Ms. Silvano selectively uses an ample amount of echo effects to expand the sound of her voice.
The effects that both musicians use are similar in the way they pulsate and work well together. The effects that Mr. Arnold uses add a hypnotic groove at times upon which Mr. Silvano lets her voice glide, rhythmically, tastefully.
There is some magic spice going on here, a rather soothing, dream-like vibe that feels better that some of the more aggravating nonsense we all have to deal with at times. Is this music for a fairy tale or a quaint movie for our minds when we are mellowing out?
I like when the voice lays out for a bit while Mr. Arnold creates enchanting scenes from different short stories or chapters in a novel. This gives Ms. Silvano a chance to add her own part of the story, her creating different characters. Since there are no lyrics to think about, it is only the sound of her voice to evoke different feelings.
Overall, I find this disc to be rather charming and not too far out, but enough to take us all on a magic carpet ride upwards and onwards. This duo will be playing here at DMG early next year, so keep you eyes & ears peeled.”
– Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
“From her first recordings in 1989, Judi Silvano has always been an adventurous improviser and yet Cloudwalking is quite a bit different. Ms. Silvano improvises a dozen free form yet melodic duets with guitarist Bruce Arnold while both musicians utilize electronics and effects tastefully and spontaneously. Nothing was added later on during mixing.
The music is quite impressionistic with sound explorations and subtle surprises. The singer displays a wide range of notes and emotions while also making creative use of space and having an unhurried delivery. Bruce Arnold is right there with her, sometimes leading the way while at other times following her musical ideas with his own musical adventures.
One should not come to Cloudwalking expecting swinging jazz but instead should be open to mood music that conveys an optimistic feeling.
— Scott Yanow, LA Jazz Scene, February 2019
“What a beautiful collaboration of voice, guitar and electronics. Thank you Judi and Bruce for the lovely journey!”
-Jay Clayton, Singer, Composer, Educator
Jazz singer Judi Silvano is the wife of tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano and she has appeared on some of his Blue Note albums, including Viva Caruso (2002), Celebrating Sinatra (1996) and Universal Language (1992), with a rather operatic vocalese style.
Silvano began recording under her own name on Blue Note with Vocalese (1996) and then with her own JSL Label which has released several albums including Songs I Wrote or Wish I Wrote (2000), Sound Garden: Spirit Music (2004) and Sound Garden: Celestial Voices (2005). Somewhere along the way Silvano switched to a straight vocal style without either vocalese or perhaps only a dab of scat..
Women’s Work: Live at Sweet Rhythm is based on a concept to present songs written by women and presented by an all femme group. This album has been carefully planned, and represents a concept of femininity in jazz writing and performing, and is well-realized in both planning and execution. The songs are composed by writers including Mary Lou Williams, Abbey Lincoln, Sheila Jordan and Carla Bley, plus two Silvano originals and one from pianist Janice Friedman.
Of the players, and they are all good, it’s Friedman who provides the cement that really holds this group together with her solos, comping and altogether solid playing. Allison Miller, who plays in many different genres, is a creative drummer.
Recorded live at Sweet Rhythm (formerly known as Sweet Basil), the opening tune, Silvano’s “Bougainvillea” has appeared elsewhere in her discography. Williams’ “Pretty Eyed Baby” is reminiscent of a tune that Nat King Cole might have recorded with his trio and is a fine jump composition. Blossom Dearie’s “Inside A Silent Tear” was heavily recorded during the 1970s, and Meredith D’Ambrosio’s “Why Do I Still Dream of You” is a touching ballad, and let’s face it—when have you ever heard any jazz vocalist cover D’Ambrosio’s work?
Likewise, Silvano covers Lincoln’s “Not to Worry,” Jordan’s autobiographical “Ballad for Miles” and Bley’s humorous “Can’t Get My Motor to Start.” She concludes with Bessie Smith’s “Backwater Blues,” a song that defined Dinah Washington’s 1950s output. Did Silvano take too much of a chance here? Well, it doesn’t beat out either Smith or Washington’s version but it elongates the song into a pleasing six minutes of pleasure.
Women’s Work: Live at Sweet Rhythm is the best of Silvano’s post-millennium albums. It presents a hardworking quartet making fine music so that whether in tribute or not, these eleven tracks present a well-developed and fun approach to a conceptual overlay.
– Michael P. Gladstone, AllAboutJazz
This album features all Original Songs and Lyrics from the pen of Judi Silvano. Her personal observations on Life and Love tell stories ranging from tender to spiritual to whimsical and hilarious. The empathy of her 2-guitar Zephyr band plus guest Joe Lovano brings this mature compilation of songs to life.
All songs are Silvano compositions and lyrics.
Label: Unit Records
Release Date: June 8th, 2018
Judi Silvano – vocals
Kenny Wessel – electric guitar
Bruce Arnold – electric guitar
Adam Kolker – bass clarinet, soprano and tenor sax
Ratzo B. Harris – bass
Bob Meyer – drums
Todd Isler – percussion
Joe Lovano – tenor sax
Produced by Joe Lovano
Lessons Learned is an apt title for the 14th album by Judi Silvano, a vocalist and composer who draws from a wide range of experience. Her Zephyr Band — named after an early-2000s album she made with pianist Mal Waldron — has Kenny Wessel and Bruce Arnold on guitars; Adam Kolker on bass clarinet, soprano and tenor saxophone; Ratzo B. Harris on bass; and Bob Meyer and Todd Isler on drums. The album, recently released on Unit Records, consists entirely of Silvano’s compositions, some of them sharp and spiky (“Dark Things”) and others full of wonder (“Round and Round”). One subtle high point is a ballad titled “Hand and Heart,” which would seem to be a nod to her spouse, saxophonist Joe Lovano, who produced the album. “When you go into the wide world,” Silvano sings, “I feel you pulling me too. / You build fires all around you / I am standing there beside you / Holding the glow.” (Silvano and the Zephyr Band will perform an album-release celebration at her regular haunt, Cornelia Street Café, this coming Sunday.)
– Nate Chinen, WBGO.org
You know reviewing this album has taken me weeks to do because it has moved my thoughts and memories in countless directions. Judi Silvano’s words awaken so much of a life lived. I felt the need to listen to her very thought provoking lyrics extremely carefully. The album has become somewhat of an intense catharsis on a personal level whilst listening intently. All I can say is I like the album and it has now become a permanent fixture on my iPhones playlist.
– Eric Alan, AllJazzRadio, Capetown South Africa
Judi Silvano’s “Lessons Learned” sees the glass as half-full on contemplative offerings such as “Hand and Heart”, “You Will Know”, “Round and Round” and “Castle Song”. “Shuffle and Sway” has the feeling of an African-American spiritual, recalling some of Abbey Lincoln’s collaborations with Max Roach. The defiant, soulful tune is about letting go of negative things that aren’t working. Many jazz vocalists shy away from composing original material, but Silvano is not one of them. She is as skillful a writer as she is a singer and Lessons Learned, like My Dance four years ago, is a fine product of both.
– Alex Henderson, NYC Jazz Record, November 2018
Silvano has been at the forefront of innovative jazz singing and as a gifted songwriter, Silvano has written words and music for all 10 songs heard here. These songs draw upon aspects of the composer’s own life and can be understood and appreciated by the listener who is thus far from being an outsider. Silvano’s sound is warm and mature, bringing to these songs depth and hints of melancholy that are counterbalanced by hope. Some of the lyrics are gently musing, some wryly witty; all show understanding of different aspects of the human condition. Without question, this singer-songwriter has succeeded in her ambitions for this excellent set of contemporary music.
– Bruce Crowther, Jazz Journal UK
The 40th Annual Jazz Station Awards / The Best Jazz Albums of 2018
2018 Female Singer: 1. Tiffany Austin (“Unbroken” – Con Alma Music); 2. Anna Luna (“Urubú” – AL); 3. Elisabeth Melander (“Reflections Of A Voice” – Prophone); 4. Jennifer Lee (“My Shining Hour” – SBE Records); 5. Diana Krall (“Love Is Here To Stay” w/ Tony Bennett – Verve); 6. Gabriele Tranchina (“Of Sailing Ships And The Stars In Your Eyes” – Rainchant Eclectic Records); 7. Judi Silvano (“Lessons Learned” – Unit Records); 8. Cécile McLorin Savant (“The Window” – Mack Avenue)
Judi Silvano has always been an adventurous jazz singer, even when she is exploring standards. Lessons Learned features Ms. Silvano not only as a singer but as a composer who wrote all ten songs, both the music and the words.
For the project, the singer leads the Zephyr Band and her use of two guitarists with contrasting sounds is inspiring. The songs include “Round And Round” (a hypnotic and powerful piece that does have a circular feel to it), the well-titled “Dark Things” which has some wild guitar and a repeated staccato melody, the quirky waltz “Castle Song,” and the extended and somewhat dreamy “Riding A Zephyr.” The bass clarinet adds to the atmosphere whenever it is heard (most notably on “Dark Things” and “After Love”) and the two dance pieces “Shuffle And Sway” and “The Music’s In My Body” are joyfully eccentric.
All ten selections should be heard several times for there is a lot occurring that is worth discovering. The musicians sound inspired and constantly play off of each other, taking the music in surprising directions. Judi Silvano sounds very much in prime form no matter how adventurous the music becomes. Lessons Learned is easily recommended and one of Judi Silvano’s finest recordings to date.
– Scott Yanow, LA Jazz Scene, February 2019
Judi Silvano’s songs have elements of jazz, rock and other genres with a heavy reliance on guitars and her voice is mature, rich and melodic. Sax master Joe Lovano adds percolating life to a calypso groove “Dust” and an impassioned solo on an extended piece while Silvano croons impressively on “Riding a Zephyr”. This album is full of energy and joy and her musical partners bring flexibility and imagination to varied settings, with Bruce Arnold’s and Kenny Wessel’s intermingled guitars a consistent highlight. This is fun stuff from a singer who should be more celebrated!
– Jerome Wilson, AllAboutJazz.com
Judi Silvano’s “Lessons Learned” has moved my thoughts and memories in countless directions, her words awakening so much of a life lived. After careful listening to her thought-provoking lyrics, all I can say is the album has now become a permanent fixture on my iPhone playlist. – –Eric Alan, alljazzradio/co.za/blogs-and-reviews, So.Africa
The album “Lessons Learned”, recently released on Unit Records, consists entirely of Silvano’s compositions, some of them sharp and spiky (“Dark Things”) and others full of wonder (“Round and Round”). One subtle high point is a ballad titled “Hand and Heart.”
– Nate Chinen, WBGO.org
Again and again, Silvano breaks out of the well-established waters of vocal jazz. On her new CD “Lessons Learned” Judi Silvano erupts once again with some thoughtful and lyrical Songs and lets her Zephyr band, including Joe Lovano on “Dust” and “Riding a Zephyr”, improvise freely.
– Concerto Magazine, Switzerland, November 2018
As a respected vocalist, who has four times been named a DownBeat Top Ten Vocalist and Composer, Judi Silvano continues using her composer skills to share life stories that encourage people to recognize that all of humanity is connected. On “Lessons Learned” Judi Silvano has composed all the songs both music and lyrics. I appreciate her songwriting ability and her lyrical messages and as a social message, it is cerebral food for thought. As a composer, Silvano soars.
– Dee Dee McNeil, August 1, 2018
Judi’s compositions are like her paintings – Magical! – Sheila Jordan, NEA Jazz Master
My Dance came as a surprise to longtime followers of singer Judi Silvano in 2014. More than the fact that her only accompaniment was pianist Michael Abene (of WDR Big Band fame) was that Silvano was performing exclusively original material. Although Silvano had included original songs on previous releases, familiar standards were often used as vehicles for improvisation. Silvano the composer takes center stage once more with Lessons Learned.
The vocalist uses a full band to bring her material to life: Kenny Wessel (guitar), Bruce Arnold (processed guitar), Adam Kolker (bass clarinet, tenor and soprano saxophones), Ratzo B. Harris (bass) Bob Meyer (drums) and Todd Isler (percussion). Silvano’s husband Joe Lovano, who produced the session, is featured on tenor saxophone for two selections: the probing, 11-minute “Riding a Zephyr” and noir-ish “Dust”, which hints at the music of Ethiopia and Mali.
The singer’s more abstract side asserts itself on the funky yet angular “The Music’s in My Body” and “Dark Things”, which employs a choppy, punk-ish beat. This is a consistently introspective album and the latter tune finds Silvano examining some darker thoughts.
But more often than not, Lessons Learned has an optimistic outlook; Silvano is definitely seeing the glass as half-full on contemplative offerings such as “Hand and Heart”, “You Will Know”, “Round and Round” and “Castle Song”. “Shuffle and Sway” has the feeling of an African-American spiritual, recalling some of Abbey Lincoln’s collaborations with Max Roach. The defiant, soulful tune is about demanding positive changes in one’s life and letting go of negative things that aren’t working.
Silvano achieves a healthy balance of the melodic and the cerebral. Many jazz vocalists shy away from composing original material, but Silvano is not one of them. She is as skillful a writer as she is a singer and Lessons Learned, like My Dance four years ago, is a fine product of both.
– Alex Henderson, NYC Jazz Record, November 2018
Once again, the jazz vocalist finds that sweet spot between art chick and hard core pro as she delivers a real personal album assessing where she is in life now. Lyrically loaded with lessons all should really be thinking about, this is a Zen jazz set that’s sure to resonate with the current crop of seekers that are trying to take pause and figure the rest of it all out.
– Chris Spector, August 2018, Midwest Record Review
Judi Silvano is a universal artist in a special class. She is a musician, singer, lyricist, dancer and painter. With “Lessons Learned” she surprises us with a graceful pop-jazz sound with multiple effects. First, the messages of some of her songs cheer up her fellow human beings, pushing for the positive. Her poems are expressed in catchy melodies which are broadened by the top jazz players she has in her octet. She has been married to an absolute superstar on the tenor saxophone, Joe Lovano, so asked him to produce this album and he helped his wife to realize these songs which have influences of folk, spiritual or Latin styles. For instance, “After Love” features Adam Kolker (bcl, ss, ts), who worked for years with the famous conguero Ray Barretto. Also, there are 2 guitarists in the band, Kenny Wessel and Bruce Arnold which is a really special thing about this CD. Wessel, who played in the ensemble of Ornette Coleman, and Bruce Arnold, who plays jazz and interprets contemporary classical music, collaborate well together, which generates an exceptional sound. The rhythm is provided by the trio Bob Meyer (dr), Todd Isler (perc) and Ratzo B. Harris (b). Judi Silvano herself has presented jazz with poetry in several projects, has recorded classic songs with unusual ensembles and has founded several successful vocal ensembles. Again and again, Silvano breaks out of the well-established waters of vocal jazz. On her new CD “Lessons Learned” Judi Silvano erupts once again through the civilized channel of pop-jazz with some thoughtful and lyrical Songs and lets her Zephyr band, including Joe Lovano on “Dust” and “Riding a Zephyr”, improvise wildly through the studio.
– Concerto Magazine, November 2018, ewei
The American jazz singer Judi Silvano has such luminaries as the guitarist Kenny Wessel, the bass clarinetist Adam Kolker and tenor Master Joe Lovano who also produced the album of her Zephyr Band. You can therefore assume that she has a formidable reputation on the scene. In sometimes sprawling pieces (“Riding A Zephyr” takes about twelve minutes), Silvano shows her world views with a playful openness reflected in pastel shimmering soundscapes that are created by two guitarists of which the second is Bruce Arnold. Silvano sounds affectionate and spiritual on some of her songs while in others she exhibits a wild abandon. Seldom have we heard a singer being so open and direct, not imitating other singers but singing in her own style. Her voice has an honest and very authentic sound, not spoiled by academic rigidness in spite of many complex passages in her very expressive music.
– Text Rolf Thomas, Jazz thing 125 (Germany)
This is the first album vocalist Judi Silvano and guitarist Bruce Arnold released of their Electro-Acoustic Duo excursions. These Co-Compositions evolved in the moment and vary from calm Soundscapes to rock-ish energy.
Label: Muse Eek Publishing
Release Date: 2017
Judi Silvano | vocals
Bruce Arnold | processed guitar
The intuitive understanding between musicians is called “chemistry” and Listen To This, with Judi Silvano and Bruce Arnold has chemistry in abundance. The duets on this recording, some improvised, some composed, show a duo who are intensely tuned into every nuance as they follow the sonic twists and turns of these 12 striking songs. This is some deep listening.
“Brilliant. Love it: almost a Kraftwerk twist to it.”
– Rob Taylor, nmblive.com
“Listen to This” is some beautiful, cosmic music created by two of the most inventive musicians on the scene today”.
– Joe Lovano, Grammy Winner and Berklee College Performance Chair
– – – –
From the get-go “Listen to This” will shock jazz purists with the spacey effects on Arnold’s axe and the electronically harmonized multiple Silvano voices. But vocalist Judi Silvano’s phrasing, inflections, and improvisatory reactions and guitarist Bruce Arnold’s lush harmonies definitely reveal jazz’s genetic imprint.
The definitive breakdown of musical categorization was delivered in 1962 by Duke Ellington: “There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind.” File this album in the Good Music section.
– Steve Holtje, manager, ESP-Disk
Judi Silvano and Bruce Arnold have created their own world of altered guitar and vocal sounds. I really like the opening song, “Remembrances”, an otherworldly blues with Judi’s hip-notic vocals harmonized with subtle alien effects. It’s a sort of fairy-tale vibe, rather like a distant relative to J.A.’s “White Rabbit”. Ms. Silvano sounds a bit like Iva Bittova on the aptly titled “Space Lullaby”, charming and child-like at times. On “My Neighborhood” Mr. Arnold does a great job of providing sumptuous sonic soundscapes without playing any predictable single note jazz solos; his guitar sounds like an army of chanting monks as he plays those dark floating chords in the background.
Whatever you do, you got to check out this one: “Great Plains”. There is something special going on here, completely enchanting with that great sly groove. This is followed by “Journey To Be Free”, another stunner with a rocking groove but no rhythm team. Just the guitar and voice.
I didn’t expect this disc to be the most surprising gem of the month, but that it what it is.
– Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
“Brilliant. Love it; almost a Kraftwerk twist to it.”
– Rob Taylor nmblive.com
Judi Silvano & Bruce Arnold’s intuitive jazz guitar/vocal duo – LISTEN TO THIS:
There’s one cardinal rule you must not forget, whether you’re a listener, or a listener who also reviews… be SURE you don’t allow any preconceptions to get in the way of your listening progress… I’ve reviewed Judi’s excellent vocal work many times in the past and Bruce’s guitar work is quite simply the stuff of legend around my review studio… If you check out earlier samples of these two musicians’ recordings, you’ll realize that what they are doing together is (significantly) different. On exploratory works like the oddly titled “Cats Are Watching”, the electronic effects used together with Judi’s scat just WAKE your spirit UP… I just LOVED this tune!…
They move back to somewhat more familiar territory on “Complete Embrace” (Silvano’s tune) but with Bruce’s crispy little “bells” and superb synth sounds that compliment Judi’s silky smooth vocal very nicely… The tune clocks in at a full 9:35, so that gives them more than enough room to explore each others’ creative genius… This is a relatively simple tune that will transport you (by the end-note) to symphonic (and hallucinatory) bliss!
The title track, “Listen To This”, is short (2:43), but there’s no doubt you’ll be flashing back to territory you thought you’d long left behind… if you’re like me, you’ll be hitting the replay button often on this one.
It is the (almost) “spoken-word” cut, “Journey To Be Free”, that (easily) gets my vote for personal favorite of the dozen sonic adventures offered up, though. Hearing the transition from “out there” to “completely clear” on this tune will… help you realize that “different” is often “better”.
I give this totally-talented duo a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.99 for this superbly performed set of adventurous music. Get more information at www.Muse-Eek.com/Judi-Silvano-Bruce-Arnold/
– Dick Metcalf, editor, Contemporary Fusion Reviews
Silvano has written songs through the years and yet this is her first release where all of the tracks are her originals. Some have lyrics while others leave the story line to the listener’s imagination. Piano and Voice Duo with power and taste.
Label: JSL Records
Release Date: 2015
Judi Silvano – Vocals
Michael Abene – Piano
“This is a great record by the American singer Judi Silvano, in a similarly minimal ensemble of her previous Indigo Moods trio recording. To accompany her in a kind of chamber jazz approach, is pianist Michael Abene who is rather known in the field of teaching and production. (For the last decade he has been the director of the WDR Big Band of Cologne in Germany and still teaches at KUG Jazz Institut Graz in Austria.) The two set to work to illustrate what is the “Songbook of Silvano”: this time there are no standards on the disc. It is the vision of life and love of the singer. She tells the stories in words in Make It in Classic, It’s So Amazing, Bougainvillea and Our World, while elsewhere uses only her vocal tones, leaving the listener to imagine the rest.
These two musicians are navigating together and you notice clearly what they offer each other in the chord progressions of Abene or the melodies of the singer. Her voice is so clear and inventing something all time: the art of improvisation in its essence. The rhythms used are those of jazz, including a samba imagined and blues, which is always at the base of this music. Highlights are Kokopelli’s Dance, Calypso and the final Echo Cardio, made of notes that fade amid the ethereal voice of the singer. You realize as you arrive to the end that you have listened to a brave disc, which in its minimalist essence proposes what is really jazz: two artists of great skill improvising on their instruments and while making music are really telling their stories.”
– Vittorio Lo Conte (musiczoom.it)
MY DANCE, the newest album by American Jazz Vocalist Judi Silvano, is the eleventh in her discography and entirely devoted to her own music and lyrics in a duo performance. Judi’s voice, like an exotic butterfly, soars with the melodic line and merges with it. The word “dance” in the title is clearly not accidental, as the movement of her voice is a fascinating dance and in the lyrics to “Make it a Classic” she recalls writers, composers and dancers alike. The voice and talent of Judi Silvano is part of the beauty of her surroundings that she describes in “Our World”.
– Leonid Auskern, (Jazz-square Russia, jazzquad.ru)
In 1950, Ella Fitzgerald and Ellis Larkins set a very high bar for vocal-piano duets. They explored Gershwin standards with the emphasis on ballads. Fitzgerald created heartfelt interpretations of the lyrics, while Larkins was tasteful and very supportive as an accompanist. The result was haunting and definitive renditions of gems.
My Dance, a duet project by Judi Silvano and pianist Michael Abene, is a bit different. Rather than standards, they explore 11 of Silvano’s compositions, seven of which do not have lyrics. The music is not dominated by ballads, and the two artists are very much equals. Abene’s playing regularly challenges the singer, pushing her to stretch herself, particularly rhythmically. Fortunately, Silvano has the vocal chops and imagination to make this challenging program succeed.
Starting with “Dust,” which finds her improvising off of a piano riff, she is able to create a steady stream of colorful ideas. Some of her wordless pieces, particularly the catchy “My Dance” and the soulful “KoKopelli’s Dance,” deserve lyrics that would permit them to catch on as future standards. Abene is consistently inventive and unpredictable. He never feels compelled to merely state the melody or chords, and one imagines that there are stretches where he not only kept listeners guessing but Silvano guessing, too. All in all, this is an intriguing set.
–Scott Yanow, DownBeat Magazine
Judi Silvano is a singer whose work I have enjoyed for many years. Her 11th album as a leader, “My Dance” (on JSL Records) confirms that her vocal powers are intact and her imagination as free as ever. She is one of those singers who can animate an old pop song or even cross over into classical music. But, she has always been an adventurous improviser and remains one on her new CD.
Silvano wrote all of the compositions, four have lyrics (which she also penned) and the others are wordless.
“My Dance” is a duo album. All the piano work is by Mike Abene. He has a two-handed style and it would be wrong to consider him an accompanist. He is an equal collaborator. Silvano shows that her approach is just as free on her own pieces as when she is singing the Great American Songbook.
If someone could tame “It’s So Amazing,” it could be a pop hit. Her “Calypso” is wilder than anything Harry Belafonte recorded. “Kokopelli’s Dance” is infectious with a Sarah Vaughan feel while “Echo Cardio” manages to be moving even without language.
Judi Silvano will hold a CD release show for “My Dance” with Mike Abene on Thursday, February 26th at Jazz At Kitano (66 Park Ave. at East 38th St.; (212) 885-7119; http://kitano.com). Shows at 8 pm and 10 pm and there is a $20 cover, $15 minimum drink and food per person, per set. If you miss that gig, Silvano and Abene will be at Cornelia Street Café (29 Cornelia Street; (212) 989-9319) on March 30th. Music sets at 8:45 and 9:45 pm.
-By Barry Bassis (www.theepochtimes.com)
Judi Silvano’s January release, My Dance is a joint effort with pianist Michael Abene, and the album showcases 11 original Silvano compositions. My Dance is an album uninterested in reinterpreting classic tropes or even reimagining them. My Dance is interested in creating something new with a sound all its own, and even a cursory hearing of the disc’s opener, a track she calls “Dust,” makes it clear she has done just that. From Abene’s piano opening, through Silvano’s vocalise/scat, the album’s direction is set.
Her songs are spare. As often as not they communicate more meaningfully without words than they do with them. Silvano may come close to something conventional as in “It’s So Amazing,” but it is when she is most creative that she is at her best.
This is music that makes some demands on listeners, much the way the best jazz artists have always done. Those willing to give it a chance will find it worth their while; those unwilling will be missing out on something truly original.
-Jack Goodstein (blogcritics.org)
Across a kaleidoscopic recording career that recently entered its third decade, vocalist Judi Silvano has worked with pianoless groups, all-female outfits, a vocal ensemble performing a cappella, and even crafted, with husband Joe Lovano, an album of music intended to enhance hypno-massage. Through it all, she has only once recorded with just piano. That was a dozen years ago, for the superlative RIDING A ZEPHYR, showcasing Silvano alongside Mal Waldron.
For this sophomore duo set, which features solely original material, Silvano reunites with Mike Abene, her pianist from 2004’s LET YOURSELF GO. Abene opens the 11-track session with thunderstorm force, jagged and threatening, before setting into choppy waves to support Silvano’s angular “Dust.” It is the first of the album’s six wordless selections, each deftly mapped by Abene. Silvano’s longstanding mastery of that tricky art is shown to maximum advantage, extending from the metronomic drone of “F Minfor” to the exultant “Kokopelli’s Dance” and joyous “Calypso.”
When Silvano opts to sing actual lyrics the results are just as exhilarating: the ghostly naturalism of “Our World (Bass Space)”: the swirling intoxication of “It’s So Amazing”; the list-song finesse of “Make It a Classic,” it’s wide-ranging references to artistic hewaroees placing Van Gogh, Edgar Allan Poe and Shakespeare shoulder-to-shoulder with Ellington and Monk.
-Christopher Loudon (JazzTimes Magazine)
Vocalist Judi Silvano has always looked for the most creative atmospheres in which to use her voice, best known for her work with Joe Lovano on Rush Hour a number of years ago, she uses her creative spirit in a variety of settings. This time out, she teams up with Michael Abene on piano, who has a touch himself similar to the dark and deep sounds of Mal Waldron; together the two make a lasting impression.
All of the material is Silvanos, sometimes with lyrics, at other times with wordless vocals. Without words, she can create exotic moods as on the mood tepia toned “Dust’ or the rhythmic Brazilian joys “My Dance” and “Samba 33.” The angular and Monkian “Make it a Classic” has Abene using single notes for the melody and rhythm, while he creates a rich and chocolate texture underneath Silvano’s lyrics on “ Bougainvillea.” His fingers gently rollick like an old time strider without the stride on “Kokopelli’s Dance” and all the while Silvano is both accessible to the ears yet slowly pushing to the outside. The tensile acoustics between the two make for intimate yet vibrant atmospheres.
– George Harris (jazzweekly.com)
Compared with her last Trio album INDIGO MOODS released in 2012, Judi Silvano’s new album MY DANCE has been stripped down to just voice and piano. Ms. Silvano is able to take greater risks with her voice, making lines like pearly gossamer. She shows that she is up to the task, making sure that each note counts—each sound and each syllable as well. It is as if the singer were also inventing a new language here, or at least purging the old one that she learned as a child. Replacing words with sounds can also become retrograde. Guarding against this Ms. Silvano makes a series of left turns so to speak where she propels her songs into musical alleyways that are unusual, but then she also turns this adventure into one of great discovery. So life altering is this album that it is hard to imagine where Judi Silvano will take her artistry next.
– Raul da Gama (jazzdagama.com)
Veteran singer and composer Judi Silvano partners with pianist Michael Abene to record eleven of her original tunes. They are stories of love, life and experiences packed with creativity. Judi started her career in entertainment a modern dancer. That spirit carried over to her musical career where she improvises scatting and experimenting with different vocal patterns. Abene hugs every move in a well-coordinated effort.
– D. Oscar Groomes , (http://www.OsPlaceJazz.com)
Featuring some of Judi’s favorite Standard songs in a Trio format.
Label: Jazzed Media
Release Date: 2012
Judi Silvano – voice
Peter Tomlinson – piano
Fred Jacobs – trumpet
Judi Silvano’s vocal capabilities have been known for some time, tested in a myriad of contexts that have proven her versatility. “Indigo Moods” is her 10th album as the Leader and she works in a minimalist environment together with pianist Peter Tomlinson offering the harmonic context and the trumpeter Fred Jacobs contributing colors and expressive notes. There are many verses to these standards which do not fail to surprise us.
In the lineup are very famous songs and because they are so well known it is difficult to reproduce them, especially in a situation in which the singer is the center of attention and there is little or nothing to hide behind. Silvano is, as usual, present with her great voice offering us exciting interpretation, perfect pronunciation, her great sense of rhythm, swing and everything in short that makes a singer a great singer.
Every song has a special story behind it, on which Silvano stretches out with her own interpretation as if it was the final one. So when you listen you will forget past versions of these songs as Silvano brings them to you fully anchored in the present for Judi Silvano is moving these standards into the future.
– Di Vittorio Lo Conte, AllAboutJazz Italy
To hear a singer sing without a net like Judi Silvano does on her Indigo Moods is to invite an intimacy that ought to be germane to the art of singing ballads and torch songs. Channeling the spirits of Rosemary Clooney and Ella Fitzgerald, Silvano takes her own path in the end, sidling up to trumpeter Fred Jacobs and pianist Peter Tomlinson for 14 standards that stay pretty much in a 20th-century time frame.
Silvano’s slight vibrato is most expressive on the slower tunes, like Tadd Dameron’s “If You Could See Me Now,” where the gait of the other players and the singer’s phrasing suggest as to why these three may have put this music together in the first place. While their take on Duke Ellington’s “Mood Indigo” eventually seems to drag, it’s still filled with obvious sincerity. And Billy Strayhorn’s “A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing” reminds us how the song will always be revisited by artists patient and desirous enough to mine its immense colors and moods. That’s a lot to realize in a singer, even a veteran like Silvano, who, no doubt, sings this song a tad differently than she did when she was 20 years younger.
That’s not to say the upbeat numbers don’t communicate. Irving Berlin’s “It Only Happens When I Dance With You,” an unconventional inclusion, does have that bounce, Silvano’s movements with Tomlinson suggesting a real dance on the floor. And Antonio Jobim’s “If You Never Come To Me” provides a window into Silvano’s scat sensibilities along with perhaps the best example of this trio playing as one. Ending this set with two lovelorn melodies — a reinvention of Thelonious Monk’s “Ugly Beauty” with lyrics for “Still We Dream” and the short, sweet duet with Jacobs on “I’ll Be Seeing You” — proffer the kind of simple delight in a song that seems rare, indeed.
– John Ephland, Downbeat
It’s been seven years since Judi Silvano served up an all-standards platter. And though intermediary projects included her stellar teaming with Mal Waldron on Riding a Zephyr and the fine salute to female songwriters and musicians Women’s Work, it’s great to hear her take-no-prisoners approach applied to a fresh baker’s dozen of sturdy chestnuts. On this 10th album in 20 years, Silvano leaves delicacy and coyness to lesser songbirds, tackling these tunes with the might and finesse of a world-class boxer. Those not used to such sugar-free directness might at first find her a little off-putting; closer listening will reveal a depth of emotional honesty and perceptiveness that few can match.
Working with her regular trio mates, pianist Peter Tomlinson and trumpeter Fred Jacobs, Silvano remains true to the album’s title across a refreshingly forthright “You’ve Changed,” a multihued “If You Could See Me Now” and a stark “You Don’t Know What Love Is” that is a brilliant exercise in naked despair. Even selections traditionally given sunnier readings—“But Beautiful,” “If I Had You,” “It Only Happens When I Dance With You,” “Let’s Fall in Love”—are tempered with caution, their lyrical hopefulness undercut by loneliness lurking at their edges. Particularly arresting is her restless meander through a densely fogged “A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing,” teetering between dream and nightmare. And there is a 14th track that, straying slightly from the Great American Songbook, finds Silvano swirling through a funhouse—or madhouse, or perhaps both—constructed of Monk’s “Still We Dream.”
-Christopher Loudon, Jazz Times
Judi Silvano sings these well-chosen standards superbly! We hear a voice extremely reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald in her later period, and this comparison pertains not just to vocal timbre, but to articulation and interpretation of the music as well.
After receiving a degree in classical music and dance from Temple University in Philadelphia, Silvano came to New York City and studied jazz singing with Jeanne Lee and Sheila Jordan. She is often compared to Norwegian singer Karin Krog and is known widely for her contributions to the albums of her husband, Joe Lovano, where she sings in an instrumental manner.
On her recent CD, “Indigo Moods,” she gracefully negates all that this might imply, showing that she can also deliver lyrics with maturity. The influence of Abbey Lincoln and her music led Silvano to record Lincoln’s song, Not To Worry, as part of her “Women’s Work” CD and to study and focus on “telling the story” of a song. She has reached a new level of expression.
The musicians accompanying Judi Silvano here on “Indigo Moods” are pianist Peter Tomlinson and trumpeter Fred Jacobs, and together they create a highly sensitive trio who feel like fish in pure water in this aesthetic zone.
– Jazz Forum / Poland jazzforum.com.pl
Vocalist Judi Silvano celebrates 20 years of jazz recording with the release of Indigo Moods on the Jazzed Media label. After recording in a variety of formats, with and without husband and tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano, Silvano lands here with a collection of standards that features pianist Peter Tomlinson providing the harmonic guidance and trumpeter Fred Jacobs adding the color. Such an intimate environment provides maximum artistic exposure for vocalists, and only the most experienced singers can not only withstand such exposure, but turn it to their benefit. Silvano does exactly both with grace and poise.
Silvano makes this an intensely personal project, permeating the music with her experience, artistry and courage. “Skylark” is almost idiosyncratic with her approach and phrasing, as is the final verse of Duke Ellington’s “Mood Indigo.” Silvano bends notes to cry uncle, creating a harmonic tension and release that is the bread and butter of only the best singers. Like tenor saxophonist John Coltrane’s tone, Silvano’s voice is not so much pretty as commanding and sublime. It is one that cannot be ignored.
If Indigo Moods has a center of gravity, it is Tadd Dameron’s exquisite ballad, “If You Could See Me Now.” The divine chemistry between Silvano, Tomlinson and Jacobs is transparent to the quantum-level point, giving an aural glimpse of what makes the craft of jazz vocals such a special subset of the overall genre. Jacobs plays muted, giving an organic reading of the accompaniment flourishes that give vocal recitals their deep hues and tones. Silvano captures all of the melancholy of love lost, deeply etched with her singing experience. These are the qualities that make this recording so exceptional. This is experienced singing sung well.
– C. Michael Bailey, AllAboutJazz.com
Name sound familiar? It should. Judi Silvano celebrates her 20th Anniversary of her recording career with the release of her tenth recording, Indigo Moods. A slight departure for Silvano has a release full of popular jazz standards but dialed back to a more intimate somewhat organic presentation. Working with a trio for a jazz singer can be the equivalent of high wire act working without a net as one mistake can spell certain disaster for the less experienced vocalist.
Just to make things interesting, Silvano opts for a different trio format with Peter Tomlinson on piano and Fred Jacobs on trumpet and the resulting dynamic seemingly reinvents each tune allowing Silvano the unique opportunity to place her own indelible mark on each number. The standard trio with vocals by it’s very nature turns into a soloist with two accompanists i.e. the rhythm section. Peter Tomlinson and Fred Jacobs both contribute their own voicing in such a way as to blend for a richer dynamic. “Skylark” the Hoagy Carmichael/Johnny Mercer classic takes the melodic yet melancholy route with Jacobs trumpet fills. Silvano’s vocals are spot on and Tomlinson’s piano fill in the complete musical picture with style and elegance. “Let’s Fall In Love” while dialed back never loses the infectious swing with Silvano’s articulation and Tomlinson’s bright and breezy work on the piano bench. “Embraceable You” is kicked off with the rhythmic movement before the lyrics start again providing an interesting if not whimsical dynamic to this set of timeless standards.
Indigo Moods is a solid and dynamic offering by perhaps the most unique vocal trio you will hear but their chemistry and melodic re-invention of some iconic standards are as adventurous and inventive as any arrangements you may come across.
– Brent Black, CriticalJazz.com
So what makes this album of great American songbag chestnuts different from all the other ones out there? Could it be that Silvano is in front of only a piano and trumpet? Nah. Silvano is in touch with something here. She takes these songs back to the clip joints from where they originally got traction, but she’s not emulating the chanteuses at the better clip joints. She’s channeling the broads belting it out at the dive bars with all the vulnerability, pain and edge of a nervous breakdown energy that bisexual, single moms with drug habits could muster back in the day. Cinematic in way’s you can’t even imagine, you might never hear these well worn songs in the same way again. All that’s missing is the intro where she details how this song is going out to that someone special, the one that knows who they are even if they couldn’t be with us tonight. Whew.
– Midwest Record
Judi Silvano is not only one of the most adventurous vocalists in modern jazz, she may also be one of the least predictable. Which of course is a major ingredient in “adventurous” art of any sort. Having detoured from her more typical avant garde bent in 2005 with Let Yourself Go (Zoho Music), she took another turn in 2007 in celebration of Women’s Work (JSL Records) —compositions by the often under-rated women who have nevertheless made their marks on a genre dominated by men. Back in her more daring realm in 2008, she (finally) released Cleome: Lives Takes, recorded in 1999-2000 with her chordless cohorts (George Garzone, Michael Formanek and Gerry Hemingway). There’s been a bit of a lull between recording projects, but the wait is over and, of course, things are not the way they used to be. On Indigo Moods, Judi takes a set of familiar songs and brands them with her unique interpretive style, all the more removed from the usual presentation by her choice of the deceptively simple backing of piano (Peter Tomlinson) and trumpet (Fred Jacobs).
Judi explains in her liner note that “Indigo Moodsis the flowering of my love affair with life… the integration of these vast influences [the art traditions of her native Philadelphia, her life in New York and world travels] with my own inquisitive nature and years of living in the music… These well-known songs…express life’s beauty and struggles.” The set list includes fourteen songs from diverse but popular sources, from Ellington to Tadd Dameron to Monk and Gershwin, but, coming from Judi and the pairing of piano and trumpet, it’s a new day for each tune.
From the first verse of the majestically paced opening “Mood Indigo,” the genius of the instrumentation is apparent, the piano serving as the primary foil for Judi’s voice, trumpet providing counterpoint and solo breaks that lead Judi into more experimental territory, as if a second horn. And who says modern jazz can’ swing? Piano and trumpet team up on “You’ve Changed” to give Judi loosely constructed guideposts, but each of the three musicians takes his or her own route through the song. Tomlinson stays just slightly behind Judi on “Skylark,” Jacobs offering glowing commentary.
With just piano, “Let’s Fall in Love” swings in a slightly off-center fashion, just enough to keep ears on alert while feet keep tapping all the way through. Judi carries the melody nearly a cappella on “But Beautiful” as her cohorts abstractly trace the chords, yielding elegant results. “If I Had You” is relaxed and swinging, embellished by the slightly sassy tone of Jacob’s trumpet and Judi’s easygoing scat.
The trio stretches out a bit on a tastefully voiced interpretation of Tadd Dameron’s “If You Could See Me Now,” while Irving Berlin’s “It Only Happens When I Dance With You” is given a brief, swaying reading as a slightly dissonant piano/voice duet. Jacobs opens “A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing,” his mournful trumpet paving the way for Judi’s tender phrasing. Moving south of the border, the trio tackles Jobim’s “If You Never Come to Me,” highlighted by Judi’s scatting duel with Jacobs, like two horns dancing around each other while Tomlinson provides a gently breezy interlude. The Silvano/Jacobs pairing also highlights “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” Judi wrapping the lyrics around Fred’s bluesy commentary, Tomlinson a subdued but critical partner in propelling the song forward.
Few songs are covered as often as Gershwin’s “Embraceable You,” but seldom with this degree of originality as Judi creates a bossa-tinged arrangement in which the English lyrics take on a scat quality. The interplay of the trio here has as many charms as the song itself. “Still We Dream,” on the other hand, is covered far too infrequently. Mike Ferro’s lyricized version of Monk’s “Ugly Betty” naturally lends itself to some experimentation, and the Silvano/Tomlinson duo offer an engaging blend of minimalism and lyrical abstraction. The set closes with a relatively brief arrangement of “I’ll Be Seeing You,” just Judi and a muted echo from Jacobs.
Over the years, Judi Silvano has proven herself to be a complex and far-reaching musician, as comfortable on swinging standards as on the most obtuse reconstructions of melody and harmony or original works. Beyond her signature vocal interpretations, however, Judi continually forges new territory through her collaborations, and Indigo Moods – melding voice, piano and trumpet–presents one of her most satisfying alliances to date.
– Andrea Canter, JazzPolice.com
Jazz vocalist/composer Judi Silvano, who celebrates 20 years of recording with her new standards album, “Indigo Moods” (released last week via Jazzed Media), will take center stage on Saturday, May 5, at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., at Trumpets Jazz Club, 6 Depot Square. Cover charge is $15. For reservations, call 973-744-2600.
Silvano has had a successful career as both a vocalist and a composer, premiering original works with musicians such as Joe Lovano and Kenny Werner. Recently, she was chosen to have two of her classical works featured at the New York Women Composers’ concert at Symphony Space’s Thalia Theatre in New York City.
Her album, “Indigo Moods” is a collection of standards, featuring Silvano, pianist Peter Tomlinson and trumpeter Fred Jacobs. The arrangements on the album were mostly developed during the recording session, which Silvano led, while keeping an open collaborative environment.
What makes this release different from her previous nine albums is that “Indigo Moods” consists entirely of familiar popular jazz standards delivered in an extremely intimate setting. Silvano grew up listening to singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, but needed to study and learn the repertoire in order to make the stylistic transition from the classical style to the more dramatic jazz singing. Since that time, she has completed 10 recordings under her own name, and sung on numerous others, collaborating with leading jazzmen of multiple generations.
Silvano has been collaborating with Peter and Fred as a trio for more than two years. “The synthesis of our musicality allows us to weave our melodic ideas by carefully listening to each other as we play these vintage tunes,” the vocalist stated in an email to The Times. “With this recording, I feel I have integrated bringing these songs to life in my own personal way with a sense of ease. And at least, for me, that only comes with having lived a little longer from experience.”
– Montclair Times
Jazz musician Judi Silvano was born into a family who love the arts and it has had a large impact on her life. In a recent interview Silvano spoke about her upbringing, influences and her new album out now called Indigo Moods (Jazzed Media) which features Peter Tomlinson on piano and Fred Jacobs on trumpet.
Silvano is part of a musical family, which has helped her connect with people on many different levels. Her influences are broad, including jazz, big band and classical. She is a talented artist in many areas other than music including dance, painting and pottery. Silvano has just recently published her first painting. One of her paintings is shown on the cover of the album as well as the small picture inside the CD with the blue house and sunset.
For Indigo Moods, she chose her most heartfelt favorite songs such as “Embraceable You” and “Let’s Fall in Love.” Silvano said, “I’ve always been influenced by Ella Fitzgerald because she is so brilliant, but I didn’t want to copy her.” Silvano came up with the idea of her tenth album from playing gigs with Tomlinson and Jacobs. The three musicians perform well together, so she felt that she should record an album with them. She chose some of her favorite songs and the finished product is a wonderful album that is a must have for any jazz fan.
Silvano said, “Music makes me feel good. It makes people feel good. Music is a celebration that brings people together.”
– Michelle Humphrey, Denver Jazz and R&B Examiner
Guided narration by Hypno-Therapist Allan Reutershan, who was inspired by the music of Silvano and Lovano, to foster self-healing.
Label: Sound Garden
Release Date: 2011
Allan Reutershan – Hypnotherapy narration
Judi Silvano – flutes, alto recorder, voice, percussion
Joe Lovano – gongs, wood flute, bass recorder, percussion
Allan Reutershan, a massage therapist and hypnotherapist for over 25 years, has developed a technique blending massage therapy with hypnosis.
Hypno-massage, as he calls it, has helped people realize their self-healing potential, yielding excellent results in such areas as overcoming chronic pain, smoking cessation, weight management, sports enhancement, relaxation, and stress relief.
Allan was so inspired by their music, that he decided to create his own guided narration along with the creative music of Judi Silvano and Joe Lovano. When played in a quiet setting, it will provide fertile ground for the listener to enter a hypnotic trance.
In the words of the world-famous hypnotherapist, Dr. Milton Erickson, such a trance is defined as “a pleasant, temporary interruption of habitual behavior in order for creative solutions to take place.”
The aim of this CD is to foster one’s innate power to heal oneself from within!
A joyous collection of Live Recordings from Silvano and friends.
Release Date: 2008
Judi Silvano – voice, alto flute
George Garzone – clarinet, soprano & tenor saxophones
Gerry Hemingway – drums, background vocal
Michael Formanek – bass (1-6 & 8)
John Lindberg – bass (7 & 9)
“Judi Silvano has long been recognized as one of the most innovative vocalists of modern jazz. Her studies of flute and dance have clearly informed her approach to phrasing and movement in performance and composition; her associations with some of today’s more inspired artists such as Bill Frisell, Kenny Werner, Charlie Haden and Joe Lovano also have provided opportunity to explore improvisation from an instrumentalist’s perspective. That perspective is on full display on Judi’s new CD, Cleome: Live Takes, a set of mostly original compositions and Judi’s enthusiasm for composition and spontaneous improvisation is readily apparent.”
-Andrea Canter, JazzInk
On CLEOME, vocalist/composer Judi Silvano explores original material and functions as an instrument in the ensemble with reedman George Garzone, alternating bassists Michael Formanek and John Lindberg and drummer Gerry Hemingway. She likes to sing with rhythmic snap in unison with the instruments and she’s smart enough to vary her timbre and attack. Her voice alternately becomes liquid or waltzes at a fluid tempo or she scats on a boppish theme. These are a series of audio snapshots and if these candids are raw, they are exciting in their spontaneity.
– Kirk Silsbee, Down Beat Magazine
Judi Silvano has long been recognized as one of the most innovative vocalists of modern jazz. Her studies of flute and dance have clearly informed her approach to phrasing and movement in performance and composition; her associations with some of today’s more inspired artists such as Bill Frisell, Kenny Werner, Charlie Haden and Joe Lovano also have provided opportunity to explore improvisation from an instrumentalist’s perspective. That perspective is on full display on Judi’s new CD, Cleome: Live Takes, a set of mostly original compositions and Judi’s enthusiasm for composition and spontaneous improvisation is readily apparent.
– Andrea Canter, JazzInk
Nothing in vocalist/flutist/songwriter Judi Silvano’s vibrantly eclectic, postmillennial oeuvre – not her knock-out pairing with pianist Mal Waldron on 2002’s Riding a Zephyr, not her sublime wade through the Great American Songbook on Let Yourself Go; not her back-to-back ventures in the new-age realm with Spirit Music and Celestial Voices; not even last year’s superb foray into an all-female world of performing and composing, Women’s Work – can prepare fans for the explosive experimentation at the heart of her latest Cleome: Live Takes. These nine tracks are all immensely daring… and brilliant.
– Review: JazzTimes.com
“CLEOME: Live Takes is Judi’s Best yet!”
– Laurence Donohue-Greene, Editor, All About Jazz
I can’t stop listening to your new CD. It has so much life in it. The new CDs by singers I hear seem so sterile and over produced, and the musicians always seem like they are playing it safe. On your CD everyone including you is just ‘going for it’ the whole time. It is the real deal. It reminds me why we got into this music in the first place!
– Dave Morgan, bassist, arranger, faculty Youngstown University, OH
Judi. I really love the spirit of your CD, liberating, dedicated to the moment, energetic and inspiring!
– Stefan Bauer, composer, vibist, faculty Brooklyn Conservatory
Everyone I know who heard your gig the other night was really knocked out by your tunes from Cleome, everyone’s playing and especially the way the group played together.
– Adam Kolker, Woodwinds, West Side Story (Broadway production)
Live at Sweet Rhythm, NYC
Release Date: 2007
Judi Silvano – voice
Janice Friedman – piano
Allison Miller – drums
Jennifer Vincent – bass
Women’s Work: Live at Sweet Rhythm is the best of Silvano’s post-millennium albums. It presents a hardworking quartet making fine music so that whether in tribute or not, these eleven tracks present a well-developed and fun approach to a conceptual overlay.
– Michael P. Gladstone, AllAboutJazz
The third set is a recent outing by Judi prepared especially to celebrate Women’s History Month. All the compositions hereon are by women, and the accompanying trio are also women. The composers include Mary Lou Williams, Sheila Jordan, Meredith D’Ambrosio, Carla Bley and Bessie Smith, as well as Judi herself. The songs, all very good indeed, are much less well known than they deserve and they must surely enter the repertoire of other singers. The trio consists of Janice Friedman, piano (also co-composer of one song with Judi), Jennifer Vincent, bass, and Allison Miller, drums. Playing and singing here is exceptional, and as a group these four musicians blend with unforced subtlety. An exceptionally attractive album and another important milestone in Judi’s career. (Buy these now …)
– Bruce Crowther – http://www.swing2bop.com/reviews2.html#40
Her jazz vocals can only be described as svelte & smooth… what sets her music apart from all those “other” singers, though, is the earthquake-level energy, though… if there were a musical “richter scale”, she’d come off at about a “12”! This CD will reach right out & grab your heartstrings, but in such a pleasant way that you’ll keep comin’ back for more, hour after hour, day after day. The full range of emotions is explored here… joy, sadness & a little laid-back late-night blues… Jazz fans everywhere will know, from the first bar, that they’ve got to have this one! As you might expect from the title, her vocals are complimented by superb playing from Janice Friedman (keyboards), Jennifer Vincent (bass) & Allison Miller (drums). It’s a live recording (“Sweet Rhythm Jazz Club, NYC), which helps to make it even more enchanting… as you listen to this album, you’ll see/hear Judi & friends right there in your living room. We’ve always enjoyed Ms. Silvano’s jazz work, & have no doubt that you’ll be a life-long fan from the first cut… so much talent, so much energy – this one gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – some of the best vocal jazz we’ve heard this year!
– Rotcod Zzaj
Caught live at New York’s Sweet Rhythm in March 2006, Judi Silvano gives a masterful performance. The album title nods not only to the bold, vibrant all-female ensemble, but to the repertoire, which was penned exclusively by women. Far more than a concept album, Women’s Work finds the singer at the peak of her creative game.
Silvano has impeccable timing and diction, and the occasional lapse of intonation is easily forgiven in this small-club setting. She displays a firm knowledge of jazz history and vocal technique, subtly coloring the songs with a well-placed swoop here, a cheery squeak there. She respects the songwriters’ intentions while adding her own flair.
The singer keeps excellent company. Pianist Janice Friedman is an inspiring partner, sympathetic to Silvano’s interpretations and equally colorful. Bassist Jennifer Vincent is not well-recorded, but glows when she stands forward, as on “Silent Tear” and the frenetic “New Dance”. Drummer Allson Miller has pinpoint control and bursting energy. Their partnership reaches full bloom on Carla Bley’s “Can’t Get My Motor To start,” a difficult piece they pull off with joyous panache.
– Todd Jenkins, Downbeat Magazine, September 2007
Women’s Work: Live at Sweet Rhythm NYC is an all-female production of jazz pieces by artists from Judi Silvano to Mary Lou Williams. The production is tight and well organized, allowing for both voice and instruments to soulfully present themselves. Silvano starts out the recording with a piano lounge tune, “Bougainvillea,” which immediately sets the tone for the album. Janice Friedman’s piano fingers run well with Silvano’s richly soulful voice.
“Pretty Eyed Baby” presents more of a Gershwin slant. There’s a bit of a chorus voice in the background, which would be better served if it had a bigger role, but maybe it’s just meant to be a ghost of presence alongside the dynamics of Silvano.
While the entire song list displays polished music, there are several pieces that stand out above the rest. “What’s Your Story Morning Glory” is a combination of cutting piano and light bass with the pitter-patter of drums, which quickly create the bluesy atmosphere necessary for Silvano’s versatile vocals. In “Ballad for Miles,” the bass makes the spine tingle. This piece is the album’s contribution to instrumental experimentation. Although the lyrics sing of other musicians, I am not interested – the sounds rightfully distract me.
The last song, “Backwater Blues,” is the collection’s cover nod to Bessie Smith. It is the best choice to end on. The group meets high expectations in pulling it off. From first to last, Women’s Work more than pleases.
– Review by Nicolette Westfall , Feminist Review blog, February 4,2008
Judi Silvano is a traditional Jazz singer, whose release “Woman’s Work” showcases her bright voice against a simple backdrop of piano, drums and bass in an intimate live performance.
Rosemary Clooney, Peggy Lee with a pinch of Ella Fitzgerald are good points of reference for her vocal style. Silvano is not afraid to be playful and light on such songs as “Not To Worry” and “New Dance” where she scats convincingly, and she can also handle a song with more depth such as “Inside A Silent Tear” and the lovely “Why Do I Still Dream of You”, which is the standout track and her best vocal performance.
The backing band’s musicianship is excellent, and they exercise restraint where other musicians may have gone overboard with solos.
This CD is pleasant listen, and perfect for those who can appreciate a singer with a clean, unfussy voice that is not afraid to take some chances for her craft.
Bringing Women’s Work to Light — Jazz vocalist and instrumentalist Judi Silvano of Local 802 (New York City) has released a new CD entitled Women’s Work, featuring under-recorded compositions by female jazz musicians. The album celebrates the work of seven female composers: Mary Lou Williams, Blossom Dearie of Local 802, Abbey Lincoln, Meredith d’Ambrosio, Janice Friedman of Local 802, Sheila Jordan and Carla Bley of Local 802, also contributed compositions to the album.
Prior to recording Women’s Work, Silvano says she was familiar with the works of composers such as Abbey Lincoln and Sheila Jordan. However, she had to go to a special music library to search out other featured composers such as Mary Lou Williams. While some of the songs on Women’s Work may be previously unknown, Silvano says that the composers represent “some of the best of the American composers, let alone that they’re female.” Many of them are recognized as pianists and vocalists, but until now, their composing accomplishments have been largely overlooked.
Women’s Work was originally conceived in 2003 as an annual concert to honor women musicians during Women’s History Month in March. Silvano’s Women’s Work Quartet evolved into an all-female ensemble and began performing together with appearances in Rome, Italy, hosted by the Donne in Musica Foundation, and at the Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Women in Jazz Festival.
Because of the group members’ busy schedules, Women’s Work was recorded live at Sweet Rhythm in New York City. Silvano explains that live recording can be difficult, but that the Quartet had developed a deep level of trust. “That’s what’s fun about it,” says Silvano. “You really get to be in the moment the more you know the musicians that you are working with, and relate to them, and react to them.” Women’s Work is Silvano’s seventh album. Previous albums include recordings with Bill Frisell of Local 76-493 (Seattle WA), Kenny Werner of Local 802, Charlie Haden of Local 47 (Los Angeles), and Silvano’s husband, Joe Lovano of Local 802. Silvano’s 2002 album with late pianist Mal Waldron, Riding a Zephyr, is considered by many critics to be among the best jazz voice-piano albums of the decade.
As an accomplished female musician, Silvano feels that it is her responsibility to bring overlooked female composers to the attention of the public. “This recording came about out of a serious study and an inquisition about composers whom I had heard about,” she explains. “Part of it was my curiosity, finding out what other material was out there.”
As for the future of women jazz musicians, Silvano is optimistic. “The skill and experience among women musicians has definitely come up, and acceptance and acknowledgement has also increased.” Overall, she feels there is a better gender balance in the music industry than there was 10 years ago.
Silvano hopes that she will continue to be viewed as a professional musician, rather than being qualified as a “woman in music.” “Women’s Work”, she says, “is an act of confidence for me.”
-Lynn Jordan, Hot Indie News
One of two images came to mind when I saw the album title “Women’s Work”. The image was either going to be the cliche of the 1950’s women: wearing aprons, chatting animatedly as they mind the kids at the sandbox, doing the dishes and laundry, preparing dinner. The other image I had was women in overalls and miners’ or construction workers helmets preparing for heavy lifting and operating cranes and jack hammers. Neither is the case here. Instead four superb women musicians, stylishly-dressed, assembled for a well-prepared performance at New York’s Sweet Rhythm jazz club for a spirited live recording.
This is Judi Silvano’s 5th recording over the past ten years as a leader. Women’s Work is a themed project – obviously. The musical artists on this recording and the composers of all the songs are women. Silvano pays tribute to some of the more influential female stylists in jazz. She performs compositions that are compelling musically, and compelling because they are among the more obscure and rarely performed songs – by comparison to the usual standards and chestnuts from the jazz lexicon. In addition to covering works by vocalists Abbey Lincoln, Bessie Smith, Sheila Jordan, Meredith D’Ambrosio & Blossom Dearie, Silvano performs “Pretty Eyed Baby” by instrumentalists – including legendary and groundbreaking (on many levels) pianist, composer and arranger Mary Lou Williams, and Carla Bley. The chronological and stylistic expanse of Silvano’s choices, from the swing era Williams to the exploratory approaches of Carla Bley, are noteworthy. Silvano and pianist Janice Friedman also contribute a couple of songs.
The opening composition, “Bougainvillea” – a lovely relaxed Bossa Nova was composed by Silvano, as was the song “New Dance” [Keith Jarrett actually released an album on ECM Records around 1980 which was entitled “Nude Ants’” a play on the words “New Dance.”] Judi’s band mate, pianist Janice Friedman contributed “Easy to Love” (not to be confused with the standard composed by Cole Porter).
Silvano opens “Pretty Eyed Baby” with a solid two-beat groove. You can hear the smile in her voice. She sounds confident as she delightfully brings this simple lyric to life. The rhythm section blossoms into a more driving swing groove for Janice Friedman’s lyrical solo.
The groove on “Inside A Silent Tear” is right out of the Ahmad Jamal “Poinciana” bag – with a Latin, Bossa-like rhythmic foundation. Allison Miller accurately supplies the drum accompaniment generally associated with the aforementioned Jamal classic. Friedman contributes another magnificent solo. Silvano floats magically above the ensemble, making sensitive use of dynamics, and singing with impressive phrasing – gently bending the lyrics and stamping it with her own identity. “Not To Worry” is composed by Abbey Lincoln, and offers Silvano the opportunity to express the joy that is a staple of this group and that evening’s festivities. Silvano slows it down on Meredith D’Ambrosio’s pensive “Why Do I Still Dream of You?”. The after-midnight feel, gentle tempo, thoughtful dynamics, and notable accompaniment by Friedman on piano and Milller on drums, help Silvano shine here. Silvano gives us a healthy helping of her scatting strengths on the lively samba groove of her own composition “New Dance”. The album concludes with a blues – Bessie Smith’s “Backwater Blues.” Silvano is at her best here.
Judi’s artistic endeavors have taken her far beyond the area of vocalist and composer. After studying Music and Dance at Temple University, Silvano moved to New York and embarked on a career in improvisation – dance and then jazz music. She has had a long time association with Joe Lovano, and cut her teeth learning to sing the lead trumpet parts of Thad Jones’ arrangements when she used to go hear the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra at the Village Vanguard back when.
Silvano has assembled a superb band, a clever set of music and Women’s Work expectedly shows the ongoing growth, commitment ability and sensitivity of this evolving artist.
– Clive Griffin, September 2007
Judi Silvano is a pre-eminent New York City-based jazz vocalist and composer. She is known for her classically trained, nubile vocal chops, and a penchant for creative projects that push the proverbial envelope. Whether she is scatting in the stratosphere of a free jazz composition, rendering a ballad by Monk or Gershwin, or performing with any of her diverse ensembles, she is uniquely herself – uncompromising and always interesting.
Her latest recording, Women’s Work, is a concept album, celebrating the contributions of women in jazz. The CD was recorded during a “live” performance honouring Woman’s History Month 2007 at Greenwhich Village’s “Sweet Rhythm”. Judi has included material from some of her most profound influences – Mary Lou Williams, Blossom Dearie, Abbey Lincoln, Meredith D’Ambrosio, Sheila Jordan, Carla Bley and Bessie Smith. She has also assembled an all-female cast of fine musicians (Janice Friedman on piano, Jennifer Vincent on bass and Allison Miller on drums) who more than rise to the challenge. Woman’s Work retains a distinctive “live” quality.
Silvano has penned three compositions for the project, with “Bouganvillea” being the most evocative. The languid, melodic line is voiced in Judi’s lower register, creating a mellow and engaging mood, and Janice Friedman’s gorgeously constructed piano solo is a thing of beauty.
“Pretty Eyed Baby” by the late jazz pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams, along with a rhumba-infused rendition of the Blossom Dearie ballad, “Inside a Silent Tear” are both notable tracks. Women’s Work is not just a concept recording for jazz historians and purists or feminists, but is a living, breathing highly musical jazz album that pays homage to an art form that is the birth right of all the peoples on this tiny blue planet – not just the ones with a Y chromosome.
-Lesley Mitchell-Clarke, Special to The Whole Note
This music is a soothing and flowing album of Silvano’s adept direction of 3 women’s voices and flute, with a new age and chamber music feeling.
Release Date: 2005
“Voices Together” Vocal Ensemble:
Judi Silvano – Director, Arranger, Voice & Flute
Kyoko Kitamura – Voice
Marlena Primavera – Voice
This is music for “healing, meditation and massage”. The musical equivalent of candles, soft and scented. Ambient sound meant to soothe, not arouse. It sounds like the elven music of the Lord of the Rings movies. It is also impeccably done.
On “Celestial Voices” Silvano blends her voice with those of Kyoko Kitamura and Marlena Primavera into spacious choral settings that evoke ancient traditions of chant that span from medieval convents to Tibetan monasteries, very otherworldly world music.
Silvano overlaps slowly evolving melodic lines, letting the upper partials ring and rub together.
Sometimes the endings surprise — I expected many of the songs to float for eternity. The two tracks “Ursa Minor” and “Dobranotz” feature prominent flute, Silvano playing those full-toned passages.
If you plan to follow a more mellow path, this “vocal soundscape” CD would prove a very useful guide.
-David DuPont, One Final Note
Einstein said that the most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It’s unfortunate, then, that he wasn’t afforded the opportunity to hear Sound Garden ~ Celestial Voices. This a-capella female chorale led by composer/ director/ producer Judi Silvano, intertwines crystalline vocals ranging from soaring soprano to deep, earthy tones in a seamless soundscape that transcends the conventional relaxation recording. …a truly glorious disc! Congratulations ladies.
-Sharon Nichols, CHRONOGRAM, February 2006
When the Silvano release Sound Garden ~ Celestial Voices appeared in the review pile, I glanced at the title—covers of the 1990s grunge band Soundgarden, I thought??? Ahhhh… how wrong could I be? This is music for “healing, meditation and massage”.
This is the musical equivalent of candles, soft and scented. Ambient sound meant to soothe, not arouse. It sounds like the elven music of the Lord of the Rings movies. It is also impeccably done. Given the sheer textures, any off-note would clang as bad as a gruff voice demanding a beer.
On Celestial Voices Silvano blends her voice with those of Kyoko Kitamura and Marlena Primavera into spacious choral settings that evoke ancient traditions of chant that span from medieval convents to Tibetan monasteries, very otherworldly world music.
Silvano overlaps slowly evolving melodic lines, letting the upper partials ring and rub together. At times, as on the opener, this results in pungent dissonances. Though superficially the music may seem emotionally compressed, it sounds haunted, expressing as much melancholy as joy, yet always resigned to breathe in the moment. Indeed the breathing of the singers is audible at some spots adding to the airiness of the music.
The surprises are subtle. On “Bass Space”, the rhythm grows more pronounced with groups of three notes cushioned between declamations of a short and long note. “Meditations” suddenly resolves into a simple major triad. Sometimes the endings surprise—I expected many of the songs to float for eternity.
The two tracks “Ursa Minor” and “Dobranotz” feature prominent flute, Silvano playing those full-toned passages. “Dobranotz” alone among the tracks has a melodic substance that could transcend its ethereal surroundings.
If you should decide to travel a more mellow path, this “vocal soundscape” CD would prove a useful guide.
– David Dupont, One Final Note , 23 January 2006
Sound Garden ~ Celestial Voices transports you to many places and leaves one with a feeling of having visited sacred ground. The amazing vocals allow you time to linger there in a land of mountains, rivers, chapels and other special spaces.
– Pipper Armel, Healer, Accupuncturist
I listen to Judi Silvano’s Sound Garden ~ Celestial Voices everyday because it helps me stay relaxed while I am cooking for my restaurant.
– Sonia El Nawal, Executive Chef
Beautiful and peaceful sounds to help you find a quiet moment to rejuvenate your body, mind and spirit.
Release Date: 2004
Judi Silvano – flute, alto flute, voice, alto recorder, percussion, gongs
Joe Lovano – bass clarinet, wood flute, bass recorder, percussion, gongs
Sound Garden ~ Spirit Music is a series of collaborations between composer Judi Silvano and master musician Joe Lovano. They both play woodwind instruments and a beautiful array of gongs and percussion instruments. Although known as a Singer and Composer, Judi plays flute, alto flute and alto recorder while Joe plays wood shakuhachi flute, bass clarinet and bass recorder. These tracks are musical improvisations which evolved from their interwoven personal and long musical relationship. Judi sings only sporadically on this disc and uses her voice often as an evocative acompaniment for Joe’s melodic excursions. There is a spatial quality to this set of music, which leaves room for quiet reflection, peaceful breathing and a calm appreciation of the world around us.
Not to be confused with the thunderous Seattle-based grunge act that rose to prominence in the 1990s (that rock quartet writes its name as one word), Sound Garden play quiet and restrained music that is calming to the mind and body. Flutes, bells, and chimes create delicate tapestries of sound while a variety of percussion instruments lend subtle color to the songs.
The music is quite ambient, with a great deal of atmospheric space between the phrases, and the vague Far Eastern flavor of the sounds conjures the dreamy, observant world of haiku poetry, a parallel further highlighted by titles like “Fluttering Aspen,” “Gentle Winds,” and “Blooming Landscape.” SPIRIT MUSIC avoids sentimentality, and is a superb companion to the practices of yoga, meditation, and massage.
– AllMusic.com, Review
Sound Garden – Spirit Music (JSL Records) is a peaceful musical journey of East-Indian and jazz-influenced music. The improvisations featuring flutes, recorders, gongs and percussion, voice, and reed instruments (such as alto and bass clarinets) are played by two veteran musicians showcasing their empathy and partnership in music and in life. The music transcended mere tunes and what otherwise might be expected from music, touching upon something actually quite spiritual.
– Laurence Donohue-Greene, Editor, All About Jazz
This is a lovely offering by a great musical couple, from their hearts. The music is enchanting and haunting as the candle flickers: mysterious gongs shimmer and help us float away.
– Bruce Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery News
On previous CDs of Silvano’s I have heard, her repertoire and stylistic approach, has been decidedly contemporary. This time, the choice of songs draws upon the Great American Song Book and might well attract the interest of those who have hitherto been cautious.
Silvano being what she is, an intensely musical and adventurous singer, although the material is familiar her treatment of it usually brings ‘fascinating departures from the expected. In this, she is very ably supported by Abene’s charts. On these, his playing and that of the rest of the rhythm section keep things thrusting along in a very satisfying post-bop mode. Abene apart, there are some fiery and inventive solos from the assembled horns with Jensen and Oatts especially catching the ear on the opener, / Could, Write A Book and elsewhere.
I reviewed an earlier set by this singer in JJI December 2001. This one is just as good as that, and musically is on par with Silvano’s exceptional 2003 duo album with Mal Waldron. As suggested, the choice of repertoire this time might well have wider appeal, although it is to the singer’s credit that she is not making overt play for audience attention. Indeed, it has long been clear from everything that she has done in her career, that began back in the 1980’s, that she has too much integrity for that.
That said, if you have yet to hear this commanding singer, this might well be a very good place to start. Good Sound: good notes by Zan Stewart. Very well worth your attention.
– Bruce Crowther, JAZZ JOURNAL INTERNATIONAL, June 2005
“The drifting pastoralism of this music coasts along on flutes, recorders and gongs set amid a bed of bells and reverberating percussion. A good accompaniment to a soft snowfall.”
– Jason Bivins, Cadence Magazine
“Sound Garden – Spirit Music is a more contemporary version of Tony Scott’s ‘Music For Zen Meditation and Other Joys.’”
-writer, videographer Bret Primack