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March 2000

Bob Casanova with Connie Crothers
Just for the Joy of It
New Artists Records

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 style 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.

Originally published in March 2000
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