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05/01/14

Lara Iacovini
Right Together
Abeat Records

Dynamic young vocalist and educator Lara Iacovini has released three previous albums, including a Chet Baker tribute and a clever combined nod to George Gershwin and Stevie Wonder, but Right Together is the first to gain traction outside her native Italy—largely, no doubt, because it partners her with iconic bass player Steve Swallow. The Italian-American summit also includes drummer Adam Nussbaum alongside pianist Roberto Soggetti and double-bassist Paolino Dalla Porta.

Swallow, on electric bass throughout, also contributes four compositions, three—“Carnation,” “Bug in a Rug” and the album title’s antipode, “Wrong Together”—featuring lyrics by Iacovini, plus his and Norma Winstone’s deliciously wry “Ladies in Mercedes.” For her part, Iacovini vigorously exercises her writing muscles, also adding lyrics to Carla Bley’s “Lawns,” Billy Strayhorn’s “Isfahan” and Tom Harrell’s “Sail Away.”

Though Swallow’s playing is expectedly splendid across this far-reaching 10-track set, the spotlight remains fixed on Iacovini’s vocals. Nor, with a sound as pure as fellow Italian Roberta Gambarini’s and superb, lightly accented phrasing, does she disappoint. And her lyrics, extending from the delicate, tone-poem desire of “Lawns” and tender passion of “Wrong Together,” to the breezily romantic travelogue shaped of “Isfahan” and the calypso effervescence of “Bug in a Rug,” prove equally engaging.

Originally published in April 2014
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