Between 2006 and 2009, Italian émigré Roberta Gambarini delivered a trio of albums that earned her widespread plaudits as the heir apparent to Ella or Sarah or both. Then … a deafening silence. A trickle of fresh Gambarini material did appear last year with her four-track appearance on the Pratt Brothers Big Band’s terrific 16 Men & a Chick Singer Swingin’. Now, at last, Gambarini has released a new (if slightly difficult to obtain) disc.
The album was recorded in New Jersey earlier this year with an ace quartet of saxophonist/flutist Justin Robinson, pianist George Cables, bassist John Webber and drummer Victor Lewis. But you won’t find it at your local CD outlet. Like the majority of her vocalist peers, Gambarini has an enormous following in Japan. The affection is mutual, and The Shadow of Your Smile is her exclusive billet-doux to them. (It is even subtitled Hommage [sic] to Japan.)