Artist: Noa Fort - No World Between Us
Noa Fort is an Israeli born composer, vocalist and pianist who started playing piano at age five and from the start wanted to be in the music business. That goal was reached, however, after first earning a degree in biology and studying birds. Thereafter, she studied music formally in both India and the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. She then headlined the Noa Fort Quintet performing all original compositions. She graduated from the Jerusalem Academy in 2012 and moved to New York in 2013. Stylistically, "No World" is softer in texture and rather poetic in nature. Of the ten tracks, nine are original compositions are piano and voice driven in a more melodic nature. The lyrics on Track Nine, "The Guest House," were derived from 13thcentury Persian poet Rumi. Track six, Empty Space (Halal Paur) is sung in Hebrew, again understandable given her heritage. All in all, this is an enjoyably work from a very talented composer, pianist and vocalist.
Artist: Rondi Marsh - The Pink Room
Despite her Yakima, Washington heritage, singer Rondi March starts Track One, "Flamingo," in a style that would almost transport the listener to Paris sitting in an outdoor café along the Champs Elysees sipping on a glass of fine Bordeaux. What follows are nine covers and one original track of mostly jazz influenced compositions and she even strays into a Latin flavored presentation here and there. Marsh earned a BA in Music Education and a Masters of Education from Central Washington University. I especially enjoyed her versions of the Erroll Garner classic "Misty" as well as Johnny Mercer's timeless "Summerwind." Frank would be proud. Both are more up-tempo than the other works and my foot was tapping while I made review notes. Marsh's voice is very pleasing and never sounds strained. In fact, she handles all eleven tracks as if it were a walk in the park. "The Pink Room" is a relaxed, jazz flavored work of some very recognizable classics all sung by a masterful performer. Highly recommended.
Label: Caroline Cotter Music
"Home On The River" is the second release for folk based, "Americana" artist Caroline Cotter. Hailing from Providence, Rhode Island, educated in Maine, Cotter has traveled to many parts of the world performing and uniquely enough, teaching Yoga. With "River," Cotter has all the instruments that one would normally associate with folk music - guitar, banjo, mandolin and violin (although in this case I suppose it should be called "fiddle"). The ten tracks touch on personal subjects such as her parents and she was quoted as saying - "My music is an expression of myself, reaching out to a world who I hope to connect with." Folk music or Americana music fans will very likely enjoy what I found to be a completely entertaining work.
Label: Artist Share
Headlined by music director and drummer Sherrie Maricle, "The Divas" are a group of women who are not only highly skilled musicians, but they can hold their own with any big band / swing band orchestra I have ever had the pleasure to hear. As the title implies, this release is an ode to the band's twenty five years of playing together. Music Director Maricle is a gifted drummer and she has, by what I heard on this release, skillfully managed things for a quarter century. Of course, pick any Diva musical position and what you will find is a highly skilled musician. In the finest and best tradition of big band, jazz oriented, orchestral musical groups, The Diva Jazz Orchestra is a standout. If your musical proclivities lean towards the big band era of the 1950's, I urge you to try these ladies on for size. You will certainly not be disappointed, in fact, you will be impressed. I certainly was.