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Gabrielle Stravelli, an arresting jazz talent, emerges


Gabrielle Stravelli, "Dream Ago" (Big Modern)

So many new jazz singers have been coming at us for a decade at least that you can be so jaded that you miss one that's truly special.

Not this time.

Nobody could let this one pass by who actually listened to her. Gabrielle Stravelli is an absolute arresting talent, whether she's opening a disc with Cole Porter's "Dream Dancing" or singing Rodgers and Hammerstein's "It Might as Well Be Spring" later or singing her own songs (some of which are extraordinary) or "Where is The Song?" by the great Bob Dorough who says in his admiring notes that "she wrote more lyrics, giving me an extra verse. I'm pleased with all of that."

And well he should be.

"A quadruple threat and a force to be reckoned with," he says, "singer, musician, lyricist, and actress." She has all the presence of a Broadway belter or an intimate cabaret sparkler and poet but she also swings the house down with her band on this record – including Scott Robinson on saxophones, Art Hirahara on piano, Pat O'Leary on bass and Eric Halvorson on drums. And when she does Andrews Sister voice-over dubs, she is completely winning. Dorough is ready, he says, to put her up there with Stephen Sondheim as a lyricist sometimes.

That's going a bit far, perhaps, but putting everything she does together, she deserves hosannas at top volume. She's genuinely exciting, any way you listen to her.

3 1/2 stars (out of four)


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