Thursday, June 29, 2017

Danielle Wertz, Tal Cohen Intertwined

Danielle Wertz, Tal Cohen

This collaboration between vocalist Danielle Wertz and pianist Tal Cohen is a delightful, lovely recording of standards and originals that is ultimately full of charm. Wertz, from Falls Church, Virginia, received a degree in Jazz Vocal Performance from the University of Miami's Frost School of Music, and was a semi-finalist in the 2015 Thelonious Monk International. Cohen's piano in part reflects the folk songs and classical music he played growing up in Israel. He moved to Perth, Australia at the age of 16 where he continued his musical studies at the Western Australian Academy of the Performing Arts. The stablished in Australia as a performer, he is the winner of the 2015 Barry Harris International Jazz Competition in Detroit.

"Intertwined," is an intimate session in which the two develop their ideas together, It opens with saxophonist Jamie Oehlers (one of the two tracks he plays on) introducing the standard "Beautiful Love," on which Oehlers solos as well as does Wertz scatting after her lovely delivery of the lyrics. She has enchanting voice that sings the lyrics in a soft, almost dreamy fashion, while the interplay between her, Cohen, and on this track Oehlers, has a fugue-like quality. The title track is an original by the duo where you her scatted, wordless vocals is set off against Cohen's piano again displaying a chamber-like quality in this duet. There is the longing of Wertz's vocal on "But Not For Me," before the other original by the pair, "Chopin Meets Abach," where her vocal again provides an instrumental voice as opposed to simply interpreting lyrics. Other standards receiving very appealing interpretations include "I Wish You Love" (with some scatting by Wertz intertwined with Cohen's piano); "Manhattan in the Rain" with Cohen's spare piano introduction and backing; and "Autumn Leaves," on which Oehlers contributes to the wistful rendition of this classic.

A brief snippet of the title track closes this marvelous recording. Danielle Wertz enchants with her voice, tone and phrasing while complemented by Cohen's uncluttered accompaniments (as well as the accents added by Oehlers' saxophone on two selections), resulting in wonderful listening.

I received a download to review from a publicist. Here is a recent performance of Danielle Wertz with a fine trio led by Chris Grasso.


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