Icily crystalline shards of Donald Vegas' piano open up Lauren Meccia's Modern Classic on Herbie Hancock's Butterfly in a highly delineative fashion contrasting Meccia's silky vocals before she even gets down to business. He continues the melodic offset as the song progresses, rains of lines cascading down as the chanteuse works the old 1974 chestnut (from Herbie's Thrust LP) into a Palm Beach balmy midnight edging toward Jobim's Brazilia. And, yo, applause to engineer Mike Frost for perfectly balancing the liquid basswork of…heyyyyyy…wait a minute!…of Mike Frost?? Yep, he not only plies the four strings for a number of well-known individuals and groups (Jimmy Bruno, Manolo Badrena, Jesse Colin Young, and of course Meccia) but, man, can he ever work the soundboard!, evoking a smokily rich set of atmospherics throughout a CD with transparent soundfields boasting fully captured values.
Ed Turner, crit for The Augusta Chronicle, compares Meccia to the celebrated late Eva Cassiday, and there's plenty of reason to, while others mention Ella, and I won't argue that either, especially given the velvet purity of Lauren's tone and delivery, but I think it will very soon be seen that this singer's her own girl and one of the few setting herself aside by virtue of refined emotionalities within oft haunting siren calls. She waxes sassy and boppy, however, on How High the Moon as the piano ranges from Las Vegas splashy to Evans classy in a cut that stirs the blood while the singer gambols and frolics, leading into a version of One Note Samba that'll have Basia, Sade, and even Astrud Gilberto sitting up and taking notice.
Irving Berlin's Dancing Cheek to Cheek sees Meccia back to kicking up her heels, leaping from stave to stave, seductive while energetic. Should this version ever make it to a stage musical, the audients will be dancing in the aisles. The Look of Love follows and perhaps best demonstrates how clever drummer Brian Czach can be, subtly moving within and underneath the band. Just when you think he's laid out, you listen more closely and realize the guy's exactly on harmonic with everything, sneaking just below the chords and emphases before emerging more frontline. Do I have a favorite cut? I do not. Lauren Meccia reminds me of one of my all-time favorite singers, Randy Crawford, whose every release I have to have and listen thoroughly to, not missing a thing. Randy, though, doesn't have Donald Vega and Lauren does, and the timbre twixt the two divas is notably different, but it's the high level of quality I refer to, that and the fact that their musics are drugs I must have.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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