Melissa Stylianou | Sliding Down

Sleepin’ Bee Music

Sliding Down is a welcome addition to the Stylianou discography, the CD named after the song written by Edgar Myer with lyrics by Stylianou was written while attending a workshop at Banff Centre in Alberta. The song has a beautiful piano intro performed by Jamie Reynolds, very touching. Kevin Fox’s cello provides the perfect accompaniment to her lush and smooth vocal renderings. The song builds to a nice climax, teasing, sensual and full of the joy that an adventurous romance in the beautiful Banff Centre surroundings could conjure.

Fox is featured on another pretty song “Lohengrin”, composed by Stylianou and arranged by Ratcliffe and Reynolds. The liner notes indicate that the song was written at the Banff Centre in 2004, with thanks going out to her friends for help in developing the piece.

The first track on the CD is a swingin tune, “Them There Eyes” written by Pinkard, Tracy, Tauber and arranged by Roth and Ratcliffe. The song swings with Stylianou’s feel but is driven by percussionist Alan Hetherington who lays down a Brazilian beat with shakers and low pitched drums, a good time, romping groove.

Stylianou has a smooth beautiful voice, her phrasing is fluid, graceful and inviting. She extends the end of her phrases to create a nice flowing feel. On her new jazz standard, “Blackbird” a Lennon & McCartney hit song, she delivers a wonderful rendition that is quite simply, excellent. Bass player Artie Roth plays the rhythm very fast in a higher register, creating a nice upbeat feel. The drummer Hetherington is in fine form with brushes, to compliment the vocal phrasing.

On “That Ole Devil Called Love”, “East of the Sun” and “All of You” Rob Piltch’s guitar is superlative. He has some great runs, amazing tone and full bright chords that he strings together with next to perfect phrasing. Piltch is one third of a superb trio, along with Davide Direnzo on Drums and Jon Maharaj on acoustic bass. Stylianou is completely at home and at her most relaxed performing these ballads.

The song “Three Little Girls” written by Ratcliffe with lyrics by Stylianou has a Middle Eastern flavour. Kevin Breit on National steel guitar uses a slide to create an effect similar to an Eastern stringed instrument giving an eerie mood to the piece. The song has a marching 6/8 feel. I like this song’s worldly flavour and the lyrics are enchanting. The beauty hits you right between the eyes, as Stylianou so elegantly puts it in the final verse of the song.

I was fortunate to see Melissa Stylianou ‘live’recently, she stopped in at the Pilot Tavern in Toronto as part of a Canadian tour. Stylianou makes New York her home base currently and it was a rare treat to see a future headliner. She was performing with local musicians, Andrew Downing (bass) and John Obercian (drums) as well as Rob Piltch on guitar. She performed most of the songs from the CD, her live performance of the material was uplifting and joyous.

Paul J. Youngman – KJA Jazz Advocate – Sep. '06

Melissa Stylianou – vocals
Kim Ratcliffe – acoustic guitar (2,3,5,6,10)
Artie Roth – bass (1,2,3,5,6,10)
Ted Warren – drums (2,5,6)
Allan Hetherington – drums and percussion (1,2,3,5,6,8,10,11)
Kevin Breit – mandolin, acoustic guitar, tenor, electric slide, and national steel guitars (1,2,6,8,10,11)
Kevin Fox – cello (8,11)
Jamie Reynolds – piano ((8,11)
Rob Piltch – electric guitar (4,7,9)
Davide Direnzo – drums (4,7,9)
Jon Maharaj – bass (4,7,9)
1 Them There Eyes | 2 Mary’s in the Tub | 3 Blackbird | 4 That Ole Devil Called Love | 5 Two Across
6 Three Little Girls | 7 East of the Sun | 8 Lohengrin | 9 All of You | 10 L’Amitie | 11 Sliding Down
We welcome your comments and feedback
Paul J. Youngman
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