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by Ann Alex
CD Review: Sue Maskaleris – Love Is The Key
This CD comprises ten original, catchy, Brazilian-influenced jazz songs. The general ‘feel’ of the music is unusual, a sort of ‘West Side Story’ meets jazz solos. I say this because there was something of a musical theatre element to the singing, and a feeling that a good time was being had by all concerned.
Sue Maskaleris hails from Short Hills New Jersey, and she played piano and violin as a child, and later studied arranging and composition. McCoy Tyner met Ms Maskaleris at an NYC gig and became her mentor – he said that she had ‘a touch like Bill Evans.’ Her bands have performed at The Blue Note, Birdland and at jazz festivals such as the Lincoln Center, and she has also performed abroad in Sweden, Switzerland, Ireland, and England
The lyrics are interesting, concerning all aspects of love, relationships, equality, problems that immigrants face, and love for the planet. I laughed out loud at lyrics such as ‘ I got a double date with Ben and Jerry this Valentine’s day’ and ‘ Love me Tender, love me sweet, Who’s gonna swipe me off my feet?’ (Valentine’s Day For One).
Procrastination is a lively samba with scat, Bliss is a sensuous bossa ballad with strings, flute and Latin percussion; Love Will Overflow has word-painting from the band, that is musical illustrations, such as the sax making laughing sounds, then falling cadences at the words ‘Into love we fall’. Just some examples of how this music works.
March of the Refugee is sung urgently by a few voices, in English and Portuguese. Love is the Key is an appeal to save the planet, with a rhythmic, jagged violin solo. Summer and Fly Away are richly flowing tunes to celebrate the changing seasons.
An album which is well worth the listening. It is available now on the Jazilian Records label. See www.suemask.com
Procrastination; Bliss; Love Will Overflow; March of the Refugee; Love is the Key; Renewal; Voce Pra Mim; Valentine’s Day For One; Summer; Fly Away; Love Is The Key (radio edit)
Sue Maskaleris (vocals, piano, keyboards, synth strings); Wesley Amorin (guitars, some tracks); Leo Traversa (bass, 5-string fretless bass, most tracks); Samuel Martinelli (drums, some tracks) + guests Janis Siegel, Darmon Meader (background vocals); Sara Caswell (violin); Steve Williams (drums); Mauricio Zottarelli (drums)