Acclaimed jazz vocalist Gabrielle Stravelli makes an impressive album debut with Waiting in Vain, a nine-song set recorded live back in 2010 that was released the next year. She has won awards like first runner-up at the 2009 Jazzmobile Vocal Competition in Harlem and a 2008 Backstage Bistro Award as “Performer on the Rise,” played gigs with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and at clubs like Birdland, the Iridium Jazz Club and 54 Below. She also spent three years headlining a Sunday Jazz Brunch at Le Pescadeux in Manhattan.
The proof, as they say, is in the disc. Waiting in Vain is a creative jewel that belies its title. It is in fact well worth the wait.
Opening with a brilliant blend of the Miles Davis classic “So What” and the lyric of “Oh Boy,” the tune made famous by Buddy Holly which she calls “So What Boy,” she puts her own touch on standards like “Lover Man,” “Skylark,” and “In a Sentimental Mood.” Her version of “Love for Sale,” which closes the album, is a masterful piece of work, and bookends the album to perfection.
Moreover, the singer also takes the opportunity to show what she can do with material less sacrosanct, songs less likely to find their way into a typical jazz set. There is a sweet interpretation of the pop hit “Young Folks” (Peter, Bjorn, and John) and a dynamic emotional take on John Fogerty’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain.” Then, of course, there is the album’s title song from Bob Marley.
On most of the tracks, Stravelli is backed by a fine quartet featuring Tadataka Unno on piano, Saul Rubin on guitar, Pat O’Leary on bass, and Jacob Melchior on drums.
Stravelli is going to be appearing for four shows at The Metropolitan Room in New York, July 17, 22, 29, and 31, an opportunity not to be missed.
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