Bob Casanova, voice; | Connie Crothers, piano
Tracklist: 1. You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To 2. Loverman 3. When You’re Smiling 4. These Foolish Things 5. Out Of Nowhere 6. Lament 7. Willow Weep For Me 8. I’ll Remember April 9. Wild Is The Wind Spontaneous Suite 10. Being There 11. Loving 12. Creation
Recording Dates: 7/96-2/97
“Casanova and Crothers have created a moving album that weds an atypical vocal style with creative piano improvisations. It was a treat to hear. They achieve a whole new level of originality.” — Frank Rubolino, Cadence
The performance is a pure musical expression.
At first appearing stark with only voice and piano, the recording fills out with fullness and richness. Casanova has a unique voice for improvising on the themes. He has a certain innocence in his voice that is quite appealing. Casanova has chosen a wide array of standards onto which he adds his own personality. Initially, he alters the melody line ever so slightly and as he progresses he introduces totally unique phrases that fit neatly into the program. One selection, “When You’re Smiling,” seems out of place and does not seem to fit into the love song pattern of the album. This is the exception, though, for on most others his offbeat voice melds with the love songs for a moving presentation. He is particularly intriguing on “Wild is the Wind” with his very moving rendition. Crothers’ piano accompaniment and soloing are a joy to behold. She doesn’t allow herself to become constrained by the tunes’ structures and is able to interject creative improvised lines into the song patterns. On “These Foolish Things” she is particularly poignant. By listening strictly to her playing, even when Casanova is singing, you can hear a continuation of her improvising approach. It is almost as though she were doing a solo piano album, yet the unstructured approach to the standards dovetails perfectly when Casanova reenters.
The two artists have created four short originals for the album. On “Lament” Casanova sings in a falsetto voice to Crothers’ piano creations for a striking effect. They attempt it again on the three parts of “Spontaneous Suite” and achieve a whole new level of originality. It is a Jeanne Lee-type approach to singing, and it’s an interesting diversion from the other tunes they perform.
Casanova and Crothers have created a moving album that weds an atypical vocal style with creative piano improvisations. It was a treat to hear. — Frank Rubolino, Cadence, February 1998
With flawless pitch
and a range that extends well into the contralto register, vocalist Bob Casanova approaches his art with the improvisatory confidence of an experienced jazz saxophonist. Interestingly for one whose conception is decidedly non-traditional, he chooses to direct his attention towards a clutch of widely exercised standards, but so original is his that each performance emerges as a unique expression. Hardly an accompanist in the conventional sense, pianist Crothers, a long-serving disciple of Lennie Tristano, offers intermeshing backgrounds and solos just as striking as Casanova’s melodic variations. In keeping with Tristano’s working method, their repertoire includes such warhorses as “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To,” “Lover Man,” “When You’re Smiling,” “Out of Nowhere,” and “I’ll Remember April,” but they also offer Dimitri Tiomkin’s 1957 movie theme, “Wild is the Wind,” and the jointly composed “Lament” and “Spontaneous Suite,” a fascinating three-part reminder of Lennie’s spur-of-the-moment experimentations with Lee Konitz. — Jack Sohmer, Jazz Times, March 2000
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