Well, given the cover photo and the fact that Bring Nothing but your Heart is on the Jazilian label, I expected Braziliana from Sue Maskaleris but not this mixture of trad and delightfully mutated versions. The quirky title cut kicks off the CD, and if you consider what the nomenclature is really hinting at, then you'll be ready for the steamy lyrics she penned. In fact, except for one Strayhorn cut, she wrote and composed everything here while playing piano, guitar, violin, bass, and percussion along with her band, then plotted the superb arrangements and handled the production work, everything in fact except for overhauling the studio itself…and she probably did that too.
That lead-off cut is difficult to describe precisely. Containing atonalities, tempo changes, shifted modalities, and an almost Michael Mantler-esque musical mindset at times, it nonetheless is distinctly trad-cored. Then there are those lyrics, all the more charged through the fact that Maskaleris is glamour/centerfold beautiful (yep, I'm a chauvinist!). Sue's been dubbed "the female Michael Franks" due to oft erotically playful and deceptively innocent verses, and the honorific is apt, but I'll dub in one more factor: she lushly captures the sensuality of Lonnie Liston Smith. The Big Tiri follows, a swingin' scatty-ish instrumental workout that more nakedly lays out what a great basic band she has backing her…augmented by appearances by Terry Silverlight, Mark Egan, Randy Weinstein, Steve Sacks, and others.
Her piano work in Two Ducklings is brilliant, simple but oh so perfect. To have added one more note or sped up the tempo one beat would've been to ruin the lyrical quality of the melodics. The take on Lush Life is delicious, trad jazz taken to Latin strains, the two bedding down blissfully like the couple inferred in the lead track, but skip over to O.C.D. for more of the gentle but notable deviations from orthodoxy. Makaleris enjoys the admiration of many jazz notables (Lenny White, Mike Urbaniak, Toninho Horta, Mark Murphy, etc.), but I'm telling you here and now she's every inch their equal or, in Horta's case, awfully close. What more can I say? Only this: Bring Nothing but your Heart is decidedly Zoho label quality, even though it's independently released.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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