Roseanna Vitro’s latest recording Tell Me The Truth is a project that speaks directly to our times with excellent covers of some of the songs from great jazz and pop artists of years gone by.
Case in point: The title track is borrowed from a Jon Hendricks recording of the same name, originally released in the 1960s. The song’s lyrics could have been written this year but were actually composed by the legendary jazz vocalist, Jon Hendricks, decades ago. Vitro’s passionate, evocative delivery of the song brings the song to life in a very compelling way.
“Respect Yourself” features the vocalist on a fiery, soulful performance of the tune with special guest vocalist, Philadelphia soul singer, Al Chestnut, and The Southern Roots band which includes guitarist, Mitch Stein, saxophonist Tim Ries, trumpeter Nate Eklund, bassist Dean Johnson and drummer Rudy Royston. The band also does a full throttle performance on the set’s opener, an Alan Toussaint number, “On Your Way Down”.
Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son” is given a stirring, modern update. Royston’s drums accentuate the proceedings that are amplified by Stein’s guitar and Reis’ saxophone.
A cover of “Walking After Midnight”, famously performed by Patsy Cline, is given an attractive musical interpretation by the veteran vocalist who is accompanied by her pianist, Mark Soskin. Vitro and Soskin have created a series of critically acclaimed recordings with The Music of Randy Newman (Best Vocal Jazz Grammy Nomination 2011) and Clarity, the Music of Clare Fischer (2014). This recording is arguably another artistic success.
Vitro's musical roots are found in a rich tapestry of sources, including southern Gospel, Allen Toussaint, Mose Allison and John Hendricks. They certainly fuel this album, her 14th. A native of Texarkana, Vitro has toured and recorded with many of the greats of jazz, including Fred Hersch, Elvin Jones, David Fathead Newman and many others. She is a U. S. Jazz Ambassador and an accomplished educator, having recently completed 20 years tour of as a vocal jazz educator at New Jersey City University. Vitro is the co-producer of this recording along with her husband, noted producer and engineer Paul Wickliffe.
“Tell Me The Truth” concludes with the lovely “I’ll Fly Away”, featuring special guests Sara Caswell on violin, with Kate McGarry and Cindy Scott on vocals, endings this recording on an inspired note. Taken as a whole, the 11 songs of Tell Me The Truth form a seamless, passionate statement for hope in troubled times.
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