Dolores Scozzesi's voice is an anodyne for the cookie cutter vocals of so many singers we hear today. Here Comes The Sun, her newest CD, features Scozzesi’s unique sound and an engaging mix of tunes ranging from jazz and pop standards to off-beat and rarely done compositions. It follows up her 2010 release, A Special Taste, which received excellent reviews.
Scozzesi, a New York City transplant, has been performing in Los Angeles clubs for many years. She began her professional singing career at Budd Friedman’s Improvisation Comedy Club, singing between comedy acts of up-and-coming talent, many of whom, like Robin Williams, Larry David and Jay Leno, have gone on to become household names. She began developing her singular style by singing in jazz and cabaret rooms around Los Angeles. Scozzesi also had the opportunity to perform in France, where she sang traditional American blues and jazz in Lyon and Paris. Over the years, she’s built a fan base and a solid reputation as a singer who can captivate an audience with her sultry voice, charismatic personality, and forthright honesty.
Scozzesi’s musicality is a product of her diverse cultural heritage. According to Scozzesi, “My taste in music is a bit unusual. Although I love straight-ahead jazz, I also have a strong affinity for Latin and World music. I’m part Mexican and Irish with a dash of African-American, and I don’t doubt that my multi-ethnic background has been instrumental in forming my musical tastes. In any case, the songs that I like to sing must have a perfect marriage of lyrics and melody … whatever the genre.”
Scozzesi opens the CD with a crisply enunciated rendition of Cole Porter’s “It’s Alright with Me,” arranged by Rich Eames and Scozzesi. Eames, the versatile pianist, composer and arranger, also wrote the arrangement for George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun,” which features the stellar guitarist Larry Koonse. Scozzesi takes a very different approach on this tune from Harrison’s original version. She sings with an earnestness that acknowledges the darkness and difficulties of the past that give urgency and much needed hope for a better, sunnier future.
Quinn Johnson and Dori Amarilio also wrote arrangements for this project. Johnson, the longtime musical director for Steve Tyrell, wrote a funky arrangement for Randy Newman’s “You Can Leave Your Hat On,” as well as arrangements for the jazz standards “Wild is the Wind” and a very moody version of “In My Solitude.” As Scozzesi relates, “I want to know who an artist is, and I’m attracted to artists who reveal themselves on stage. I always try to get to the truth of who I am when I perform, and I’m entranced by singers who are totally authentic.” Indeed, Scozzesi sings “In My Solitude” with a somber sensitivity that cuts right to the heart of the lyric.
Amarilio is a busy guitarist with a long resume of film, television, and gaming credits. His version of “I’m in the Mood for Love” opens with Scozzesi singing with only the accompaniment of Lyman Medeiros, a first call bassist in L.A., and features a melodica solo by Andy Langham, who has performed with a virtual Who’s Who of top jazz artists including Poncho Sanchez, Christian McBride, and Jane Monheit. Amarilio also wrote arrangements for Dave Frishberg’s “A Little Taste,” “Harlem Nocturne,” and a quirky version of “Tequila,” with new lyrics by Amarilio and Mark Winkler, who produced this CD.
Winkler is a popular vocalist and songwriter. He has released more than a dozen CDs as a leader, and over 250 of his songs have been recorded or sung by popular jazz and cabaret artists. Winkler and Scozzesi are old friends who met when she sang at the Hollywood Bar and Grill. They’ve worked together before. Winkler produced Scozzesi’s debut CD, and Scozzesi co-produced Winkler’s CD “Sweet Spot.” Scozzesi says, “I really enjoy working with Mark. He gets what I’m about, and he’s a pleasure to work with. For Mark, the process of making a CD should be fun, and he brings that attitude to the studio.”
Scozzesi is also joined by Nolan Shaheed on trumpet and Kevin Winard on drums. Both are top-notch studio musicians with extensive resumes that include some of the most well-known names in the music industry. With Scozzesi’s rich and edgy voice, emotive interpretations, and wide-ranging choice of material, Here Comes The Sunis an enticing tour de force by an artist who defies easy categorization and it will be available in stores and online everywhere on March 1, 2018.