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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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NICKI PARROTT & ROSSANO SPORTIELLO

People Will Say We're in Love

Arbors Jazz ARCD 19335

 

 



 
1. The Cup Bearers
2. Blues for Basie
3. You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To
4. You Blew Out the Flame in My Heart
5. Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)
6. One for Amos
7. Revolutionary Etude, Etude in C minor, Opus 10, No. 12
8. Moon River
9. What a Little Moonlight Can Do
10. Time Was
11. They Say It's Wonderful
12. Why Did You Tell Me: "I Love You"?/I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me
13. Moon Shadow
14. The Man I Love
15. Lost Love Blues
16. People Will Say We're in Love.

 

Nicki Parrott – Double bass, vocals

Rossano Sportiello – Piano, vocals (track 16)

One of the most delightful events at the Swinging Jazz Party in Blackpool in September was the pairing of the Australian bassist-singer Nicki Parrott with the Italian pianist Rossano Sportiello. They credibly asserted that they were "just good friends" (especially as Rossano was due to get married to someone else a month later!) but their togetherness was evident in the give-and-take of their duets. Both are eminently talented musicians, and their work together proved that one plus one can equal more than two.

The opening track demonstrates how they can swing uninhibitedly, with Nicki's dependable double bass underpinning Rossano's quicksilver piano. Trombonist Tom McIntosh's The Cup Bearers has already become a jazz standard and the duo give it a joyful outing. Blues for Basie is Rossano's tribute to Count Basie. He reproduces the Count's economy as well as his stride style, and Nicki provides solid bass backing as well as soloing effectively.

You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To introduces us to Nicki Parrott's other talent: her vocals. She sings with clarity, purity and plenty of expression. There is an Ellingtonian feel to You Blew Out the Flame in My Heart, a composition by that arch-Ellingtonian, Johnny Hodges. Nicki's bass solo conjures up the memory of Ellington's bassist, Jimmy Blanton, evoking his full, firm tone. Nicki brings a touch of little-girl innocence to the verse of Let's Do It but she gets cheekier in the song itself, changing the lyrics to "Even piano players from Milan do it". The piano player here displays an elegance to match Teddy Wilson.

Sam Jones's One for Amos has a beboppish feel, and then Rossano works his magic on Chopin's famous Revolutionary Etude, switching between Sparky's Magic Piano-type seriousness and Fats Waller-style stride. Nicki's vocal talents are again on display in a gentle version of Moon River and What a Little Moonlight Can Do, exhibiting her versatility in romance as well as jauntiness. Nicki opens Time Was on arco bass and then walks confidently behind Rossano's delicate solo. The bustling Moon Shadow was written by Rossano's mentor, Barry Harris. As a finale, Rossano joins in the vocals for the affectionate title-track.

This is the duo's first album together but it sounds as if they have been playing together for years, so close is their empathy. All in all, this is an album of superb musicianship as well as winning charm.

Tony Augarde

 

 

 

 



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