|Listener boredom is on the alert when you scan a CD's list of tunes and you find "Misty," "Summertime", "Autumn Leaves", "God Bless the Child", and "My Funny Valentine", but happily, Anna Maria Flechero's vocal jazz is not boring, and it's always about the music. Flechero connects with these tunes and works with the changes; and when she scats, she always tells the story.
The Cedar Walton Trio accompanies the singer in "God Bless The Child". After a thoughtful solo from pianist Walton, then a sinewy bass line interlude from William's bass, the ballad tempo resumes, and Flechero ends the tune with a convincing choice, a low held note. "My Funny Valentine" receives an emotional but not maudlin treatment, while Flechero's song for her departed mother, "Pretty Soon", suggests the Motown sounds of Marvin Gaye in the soaring strings and vocal arrangements in this long form narrative about love and loss: "... to lose that love you can't deny / Oh such a sad girl am I".
Flechero's voice has a haunted tone quality, like Cassandra Wilson's, and from the smooth jazz/Motown/blues tracks like, "What A Difference A Day Makes", from "The Look of Love" (which features the R&B sax of Melecio Magdaluyo), to the relaxed grooving version of "Autumn Leaves", her singing remains honest, and thoughtful, and emotional.
by David Fujino November 2008