Love Is the Key
Styles: Latin Jazz
Ever since she began piano lessons as a young child in New Jersey, music has been a big part of Sue Maskaleris’ life. Now, she wears many hats — composer, lyricist, pianist, singer, arranger and producer. Her previous albums on the Jazilian label, Unbreakable Heart (2007) and Bring Nothing but Your Heart (2013), were very well received. Now, Love is the Key offers a gorgeous program of powerful songs that capture her stellar talent and affable charm. A 12-page booklet comes with all the lyrics, including those in Portuguese written by Luiz Simas or Sandy Cressman for “March of the Refugee (Dire)” and “Voce Pra Mim,” respectively. “Procrastination” is a witty opener, and later in the set Maskaleris pulls out all the stops to have some fun in “Valentine’s Day for One” with chocolates, ice cream, dim lights, champagne and roses. The music is arranged with a relaxed, impressionistic contemporary groove built on a foundation of her sophisticated piano chord voicings and synth strings on numbers like the dreamy “Bliss” and breezy “Love Will Overflow.” The title cut is embellished with seven background vocalists, and the album’s one instrumental “Renewal” is smooth jazz at its finest. Besides Sue Maskaleris, the rest of the core band includes Wesley Amorim (guitar), Leo Traversa (bass), and Samuel Martinelli (drums). Throughout the set, we also hear guest artists providing sweet instrumental flavorings of flute, clarinet, guitar, soprano sax, flugelhorn, violin and percussion. Love is the Key is an enjoyable album of sensitive, moving music.