Lola Danza

The Island

Jazz singer Lola Danza integrates old school blues with modern soul jazz on her latest CD The Island from Evolver Records. Akin to such vintage blues singers as Billie Holiday and Shirley Bassey, Lola Danza’s vocal improvisations have an emulsifying quality with an elevating lilt. Joined by bassists John Lockwood, Garth Stevenson, and Sean Conly, trumpeter Phil Grenadier, tenor player Adam Kolker and drummer Nat Mugarvero, Danza makes an indelible mark on the palette of modern jazz with The Island.

Escape jazz is a moniker that suits Danza’s music as the soft smoldering nightclub atmospherics of “Lover Man” bolster a dreamy texture. The relaxing gait of the bass notes and the arcs in Danza’s vocals are embellished by melodically winged horn tweeters. There is a spiritual quality in the bass and vocal combo of “The Unheard Song” reminiscent of contemporary soul singers like Rondi Charleston as Danza’s phrasing gently feathers the slow moving swells of the bass.

The melodic jaunt of “GSP” props an opium-induced aura as fragments are pieced together in an elegant swirl of ethereal encrusted silhouettes. The bluesy wisps of “Lola’s Lament” shape into pleasing lobes, and the bending of the bass notes along “Bye Bye Blackbird” suspend Danza’s vocals on silky threads. Danza’s vocals propel “How Deep is the Ocean” as the bass projects a boppish swagger. She soars with an airy quality in “Alfie” exhibiting a tenderness in her voice that wraps the listener in warmth and melds into the rolling bass notes of “JKL,” a track dedicated to her bassist John Lockwood.

Earning a BA from the Berklee College of Music and a MA from the Aaron Copland School of Music at CUNY Queens College, Lola Danza is a blend of classic training and natural born talent. Her album The Island advocates escaping with jazz garnished in beads of blues and soul. She creates a sonic oasis that attracts the finer senses and contemporizes nostalgic jazz components.

Lola Danza – vocals, John Lockwood – bass, Garth Stevenson - bass, Sean Conly - bass, Phil Grenadier – trumpet, Nat Mugarvero – drums, and Adam Kolker – tenor saxophone

The Island, Alfie, How Deep is the Ocean, Cecilia, Bye Bye Blackbird, Cry Me a River, The Unheard Song, Lover Man, GSP, It’s All in Your Mind, Lola’s Lament, JKL

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Susan Frances