Tom Lellis: Tonight [Digipak] *

Track List

>Maybe September
>Dindi/I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face
>Infinite Love, An
>My Romance
>Let's Face the Music and Dance/Without a Song
>In the Still of the Night
>Fly Me to the Moon
>Dreamwalking [Nos Tempos de Paulinho]
>Three for Marie [3/4 Marie]
>Nearness of You, The
>I Love You
>Over the Rainbow

Album Reviews:

JazzTimes (p.73) - "The covers are so consistently gorgeous that it is impossible to elevate one above the others, though 'Dindi' and 'My Romance,' on which Lellis sings the English lyrics as Horta counters in Portugese, are uniquely stunning."

Album Notes

Personnel: Tom Lellis (vocals, piano, keyboards, shaker, wind chime); Toninho Horta (vocals, guitar, electric guitar).

Audio Mixer: Dave Darlington.

Several collaborations over the years between Tom Lellis and Toninho Horta have served these musicians well enough to continue their partnership in making Brazilian-flavored jazz. This program consists of standards lovingly rendered, with a handful of originals by the principals tossed in for good measure. The overdubbed electric and acoustic guitars of Horta meld in agreeable fashion for maximum effect alongside the piano playing and singing of Lellis, with an occasional low-level synthesizer or percussion accent. Horta actually sings on a few of these beautiful songs guaranteed to grip the hearts and minds of any true romantic. Lellis is in the best form of his career -- not that there have ever been any down years for his talent -- but he sounds even more self-assured and profound in a passionate resolve that is as distinctive as any vocalist in the modern jazz world. His beautiful piano playing balances that fine refined line that Horta always straddles in his acoustic strumming or spare, clean lead lines on amplified guitar. On this solid recording from top to bottom, Lellis and Horta have chosen classic tunes like a light bossa nova-treated, heartfelt but inspired "My Romance"; the show tune "Tonight" in a slow, dramatic, simmering tone; an upbeat, bouncy take of the usually balladic "The Nearness of You"; and an expectedly tender "Dindi" with a intro of "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" added on. The two sing along in scat mode to get the ball rolling during "Fly Me to the Moon" before Horta's overdubbed guitars take charge, while his lyrics melt into the carpeting like warm wax on the original "Dreamwalking" and his Portuguese lines of "Summertime," with Lellis strictly in a lovely piano discourse. Another surprising turn away from the subtle occurs during "In the Still of the Night," excited within blissful feelings. Contrasting between moods of melancholy and hope, Lellis sings an upbeat, spirited "Maybe September" with the authentic conviction that the beginnings of fall signal the renewal of life itself, while his original "Three for Marie" (or "3/4 Marie") displays ultimately soulful singing in a harder, deeper timbre. It's good to hear Horta sing and play guitar with the expertise of a true master, while Lellis has always been a king of the sport that too few have taken notice of, but is deserving of a spot among vocal royalty. This is an excellent display of utilizing jazz tunes in a different way without overt clichés, while solidifying a beautiful union between two exquisite and passionate musicians. ~ Michael G. Nastos


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