If there’s any lingering doubt that Roberta Gambarini has, with remarkable alacrity, joined the upper echelon of jazz singers, So in Love should erase it. Gambarini opens with the Cole Porter title track, allowing it to unfold in slow reveal, achieving a sublime effect that suggests twinkling stars appearing one by one against a jet-black sky. But it is on another Porter gem that Gambarini best illustrates her visceral brilliance at interpreting lyrics. Many a great singer has missed the subtle humor that underscores the paean to barely controlled lust that is Porter’s “Get Out of Town.” Gambarini gets it, and (with some equally magical assistance from special guest James Moody on tenor sax) uses it to effectively restrained advantage. More overtly funny is “You Ain’t Nothin’ But a JAMF,” with Gambarini shimmying into a loose-limbed, Annie Ross groove as she winds her delicious kiss-off of a lyric around Johnny Griffin’s “The Jamfs Are Coming.”
Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.