Donald Vega: Tomorrows (2008)
While cuts like the bouncy original opener "Wake Up!" swing hard, it is the ballads and interpretive melodic pieces that most impress. The title cut includes vocalist Maria Neckam, whose nouveau bossa timbre in combination with the trio becomes delicately powerful. The other overtly Latin piece is an exquisite reworking of Charlie Haden's danzon "Our Spanish Love Song." This lovely melody is beautifully reinterpreted yet maintains the integrative compositional strength of the original.
Both "Indian Summer" and "Nostalgia" at first seem somewhat out of place with their pensive look backward. The former touchingly reflects on boyhood memories and the latter includes gorgeous arco bass work that gives the tune its yearning quality. When taken as a whole, however, these tunes ground the optimism with authenticity. This allows for the progressive interpretation of Kurt Weill's "Speak Low," uplifting "The Will to Nurture," swinging sting of the "Scorpion" and overt romanticism of the "Butterfly Waltz." Yes, Vega can swing but his ability to coax emotion with a gentle touch and turn of phrase is all the more delightful and inspiring.
Track Listing: Wake Up!; Our Spanish Love Song; Indian Summer; The Will to Nurture; Nostalgia; Speak Low; Tomorrows; Butterfly Waltz.
Personnel: Donald Vega: piano; Lewis Nash: drums; David J. Grossman: bass; Maria Neckam: vocals (8).
Record Label: Imagery Records