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CD Review: The Christine Spero Group 

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Evjakat Music, 2007

Whether your thing is jazz, pop, or Brazilian/Latin grooves, Christine Spero’s My Spanish Dream will transport you to a loftier place.

The leader, on vocals, piano, and synthesizer, is joined by Mike Woinoski on bass, Jody Sumber on drums, and Elliott Spero on sax, percussion, and synth. Opening with the lengthy title track, the singer yearns for a place of fond imagination, her heartfelt vocals snaking their way around a colorful, exotic arrangement that is both tight and spirited; highlighting the track is a compelling sax solo. Her overdubbed scatting illuminates the upbeat and utterly danceable “Don’t Say No,” a samba rhythm-based track that is a joy to listen to. The tempo is continuously zealous until the middle track, “A Prayer,” which is a somber, solo piano piece written for a 9/11 memorial performance. Just as it must have on that occasion, it will leave listeners teary-eyed.
The pace quickens again with “The Festival,” an ardent invitation to a jubilant musical gala. “Raiisha,” an instrumental, features a demanding, weighty sax solo, and the revelry continues until the very last note of the ninth and final track.

Pick this one up if you’re ready for some sublime musicianship with true heart and soul. Or catch the quartet live at the Horton Smith House in Hensonville on September 1; at Stella’s in Catskill on September 15; or at the Hunter Mountain Microbrew and Wine Fest on September 22. www.cdbaby.com/cd/christinespero2.

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