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3Divas (Diva Jazz Orchestra)

Review of album by small group offshoot of Sherrie Maricle's DIVA Jazz Orchestra

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Cover of 3Divas album
3Divas album

Throughout her career, drummer and bandleader Sherrie Maricle has worked in several different configurations, ranging from the DIVA Jazz Orchestra to the Five Play Quintet and the DIVA Jazz Trio. 3Divas is another three-piece, with Jackie Warren on piano and Amy Shook on bass (both are members of the orchestra as well), and this seven-track set of well-chosen covers is their debut.

One might wonder, at first, why Maricle chose to launch another trio, and what this one might offer that the other (with bassist Noriko Ueda and pianist Tomoko Ohno) does not. The answer is, simply, a different flavor—or, to be more specific, a bunch of different flavors. John Denver’s “Sunshine on My Shoulders” becomes a cerebral meditation in the hands of 3Divas, Shook stating the theme in deep arco tones, Maricle salting the melody with lightly tinkled jingle bells and, finally, Warren expounding as the pace picks up. “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning,” the Sinatra-associated, David Mann-composed standard, belongs almost entirely to the pianist and bassist, with Maricle barely audible on brushes. On “Tennessee Waltz,” too, the drummer remains in the support role, again yielding the floor to the evocative melodicism of Warren.

It’s not all played in hushes though. Jobim’s “Favela” heads quickly into a gallop that never lets up, and the surprise that wraps it, Sonny and Cher’s signature hit “The Beat Goes On,” is driven by a boogie that gives the tune a respectable funkiness its originators likely never dreamed it had in it.

Originally Published