Vocalist Sam Fazio has been honing his craft in Chicago for numerous years, with residences at leading hotels including a six-year run at the Drake. Fazio is no stranger to festivals either, with appearances at the Chicago Jazz Festival and Taste of Chicago.
On his 2020 outing, Fazio teams with guitarist Tuck Andress and vocalist Patti Cathcart, who produced the album and play on some tracks. Together the team have created a lighthearted album ranging from classic standards to popular tunes and a sprinkling of originals by Cathcart and Andress.
“Pure Imagination” begins the album, with Chris White on piano and Michael Peloquin on harmonica giving the tune an easy-going cadence. Fazio caresses each note with ardor. The title track is a collaboration by Fazio and guitarist Tim Fitzgerald, Cathcart and Andress. Once again, Fazio is on point.
“Reverie,” an original crafted by Cathcart and Andress, is delivered cabaret style. Who can resist Tom Waits‘ writing? “Downtown Train” is given a bluesy Americana feel. Fitzgerald presents a jangling guitar accompaniment, while Peloquin colorizes with feel-good flourishes. Another gem is “Superstar,” written by Bonnie Bramlett and Leon Russell, but in the usual fashion husband Delaney Bramlett was given co-writing credits. The tune was made famous by the Carpenters in 1971. Fazio takes the melody in a direction that is less sunny.
Fazio falls into the pop-jazz category. His best asset is his warm and inviting vocal quality. A diehard bopster may not find much to nibble on here, but fans of adult standards will find him a delight.
Pure Imagination; Let’s Go; Reverie; S’Wonderful; Downtown Train; My Baby Just Cares For Me; Superstar; Eleanor Rigby; Teach Me Tonight; Do You Want to Dance?; Share My Life.