Dolores Scozzesi’s A Special Taste is one of those records that brims with warmth and flavor. The gentle swing and tender delivery of the diverse vocalist is apparent on every piece of music, but it’s her selection of songs and inspirations that really transform this into something special.
Scozzesi is a storyteller. She engrosses with her renditions, capturing our senses with her imaginative delivery and deft elocution. She turns phrases with a simple lift of a certain word, pushing others downstairs at the same time and focusing our attention on the well-lit path she’s creating in the spaces between words. She also takes her time, carefully navigating the road with her patient but persistent cadence.
A Special Taste is the sort of record that spins beautifully with a glass of well-aged scotch (for me, it’s a certain 15-year-old Glenfiddich) and a crackling fire. Yet Scozzesi needs no accompaniment, liquid or otherwise, and she asserts herself with several absorbing song choices.
It’s not every day that a jazz vocalist takes on a Bob Dylan track. Scozzesi takes on two here and it’s a big challenge, but her oaky tone engages on both. “One More Cup of Coffee” is hauntingly touched by Scozzesi’s phrasing. Check out how she dramatically bends the word “mysterious” right where it counts. “Just Like a Woman” is the other Dylan cut on the record. Scozzesi smolders.
The opening number, “You Fascinate Me So,” comes with highlights from Bob Sheppard’s flute. Listening to Scozzesi scale the walls of her range fleshes out the tale of the tape and tells us that she takes no prisoners when it comes to belting out the big stuff.
Scozzesi takes chances with her vocals. Never content to color within the boundaries, she tells us of enticing possibilities with “Jazz is a Special Taste.” The Mark Winkler lyrics dance off her tongue as she adroitly dances above the rhythm from David Derge’s drums and Tim Emmons’ bass. “It’s the notes you choose not to play,” she sings.
Other players include Eli Bruggemann (piano), Gary Fukishima (piano), Carter Wallace (bass), Goh Kurosawa (guitar), Nolan Shaheed (coronet), and Dave Bass (saxophone).
Scozzesi’s penchant for a range of vocalists from Joni Mitchell to Al Jarreau is apparent with each passing track. A Special Taste is unique in that it isn’t just an extension of the New York-born vocalist’s influences; it’s an extension of her soul.