The first thing you notice about Gabrielle Stravelli is her voice. The instrument is rich and resonant, flexible and precise, soulful and clean. Not one to play the obvious ingénue, Gabrielle uses this instrument to somehow sound both innocent and knowing at the same time. She meets American standards with fresh ears and a lot of know-how. She then tailors the songs to fit her personality in a way that is so complete as to make them sound utterly bespoke. She takes a lyric seriously, like a good actor, while retaining the freedom of melodic re-creation that is the jazz singer’s art. Gabrielle’s new compositions are professionally constructed but manage to take us to surprising places in the future. It is charming to hear someone so young with such excellent musical taste – and disarming to hear someone so utterly relaxed in this elevated context. This makes ‘Dream Ago’ a rare find.
Gabrielle Stravelli is, quite simply, the best singer you may never have heard of. She has the whole package: a fantastic instrument, great time, superb musicianship, perfect diction – and more importantly, she sings everything with a true depth of feeling. She is a real jazz singer, the mark of which is he ability to breath new life into classic standards like Rodgers & Hammerstein’s ‘It Might As Well Be Spring’ and Cole Porter’s ‘Dream Dancing.’ On every track, no matter what the groove or sentiment, we believe every word she sings. She has an astounding range and, more importantly, she applies myriad vocal colors for each performance. She is a gifted composer/lyricist as well, contributing most of the material on the album in conjunction with her partner in music and life, Pat O’Leary. Some of these tunes may become standards some day – they are memorable, heartfelt and given terrific readings. Singing in front of a fantastic and swinging band, Gabrielle proves on ‘Dream Ago’ that she is one of the top vocalists on the music scene today.”
A pretty swinging affair. With this outing, Gabrielle Stravelli proves herself to be a quadruple threat and force to be reckoned with: singer, musician, lyricist and actress. With a well-trained voice, an impressive range and a controlled vibrato, she and her estimable colleagues literally run the gamut of musical styles here: scat-to-opera, primitive-to-modern, low-tech, high-tech. She reaches such a dramatic intensity that I almost have to place her in Sondheim strata. What can you say? What a voice!
Just when the shore of song seems lost for all the fog, the voice of Gabrielle Stravelli cuts through like a lighthouse of emotional integrity. Dream Ago is the third outing from this award-winning singer/songwriter and largely consists of original material...Dream Ago spreads Stravelli’s talent into its full spectrum, looking into her past for variations of color. The whimsical “Cake Of My Childhood” takes listeners on a culinary journey through her formative years, while the melancholy title track, written for her late father, offers an honest assessment of grief. Other songs are formidably upbeat. For “Little Zochee,” Stravelli pens lyrics to a Thomas Chapin flute solo, while “Didn’t You Tell Me” puts a feminist twist on things and reveals one of many obvious inspirations (in this case, the Andrews Sisters). Stravelli indeed channels a rainbow of interests, from balladic Joni Mitchell (“More”) to 1980s Gloria Estefan (“Now I Know”) and k.d. lang (the masterful “If Only Love Was Blind”).Despite these introspective sojourns, Stravelli is outgoing at heart. Her duet with guest vocalist Kenny Washington (“Bicycle Blues”) is a highlight, as is the album’s opening statement, Cole Porter’s “Dream Dancing,” which reclines in a blissful arrangement. Whether through the Rodgers and Hammerstein standard “It Might As Well Be Spring” (rendered with rare tactility) or “Where Is The Song?” (a song written by Bob Dorough for Diana Krall, who never recorded it), the band flows wherever she goes, and we are nothing if not lucky to come along for the ride.
Gabrielle Stravelli has an indie-styled voice, and uses it in a wide and impressive collection here of mostly originals with a flexible team of David Cook-Art Hirahara/p-key, Pat O’Leary/b, Eric Halvorson/dr, Scott Robinson/reed-brass, Saul Rubin/g and guest vocalist Kenny Washington. Her delivery can be hard bop Monkish as on her own “Bicycle Blues” as well as on the whimsical “Didn’t You Tell Me.” She does some impressive vocal gymnastics with percussive results on “Prism” while getting dreamy and almost subliminal on her own “More.” She sounds a bit twisted on her “Cake of My Childhood” and sensuously Brazilian on “Now I Know.” Lots to be impressed about here.
Gabrielle Stravelli is a very talented musician who obviously has a great future... From the start, when Ms. Stravelli creates an overdubbed heavenly chorus on “Dream Dancing” and scats on “Cake Of My Childhood,” it is obvious that this is going to be a continually surprising and stimulating set. On “Little Zochee” she interacts with the late Thomas Chapin whose flute playing is taken from 1985. A swinging version of Bob Dorough’s quirky and witty “Where Is The Song” (which comments on the tune that she is singing) precedes her atmospheric love song “If Only Love Was Blind.” Among the other pieces are a surprisingly hard-swinging “It Might As Well Be Spring” (which includes some impressive long notes from the singer), a duet with pianist Cook on “Dream Ago” (an emotional ballad written for the singer’s late father), the passionate jazz waltz “Prism,” and “More” on which Stravelli performs as an unaccompanied choir. Dream Ago (available from www.gabriellestravelli.com) is filled with fresh, melodic and unpredictable music from a brilliant and inventive singer who is still in the early stages of her career.
...a breakthrough recording, serving up a dazzling melange of the seductive, sophisticated vocals that have long been her hallmark. The CD includes two standards – Cole Porter’s “Dream Dancing” and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “It Might as Well Be Spring” — and they quickly establish Stravelli as an artist who offers fresh insights into standards that you’d think by now would defy reinterpretation. But the album’s ten other songs are the main attraction. Stravelli had a hand in writing, or contributing to all of them, along with O’Leary and lyricist Jason Robinson – and it is here that her musical gifts truly shine.In sum, “Dream Ago” is one of the finer jazz albums you’ll hear this year...As Jonathan Schwartz, the dean of Great American Songbook broadcasters puts it: ‘She’s the real deal.’
Truly special. Gabrielle Stravelli is an absolute arresting talent, whether she’s opening a disc with Cole Porter’s ‘Dream Dancing’ or singing Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘It Might as Well Be Spring’ later or singing her own songs (some of which are extraordinary). She has all the presence of a Broadway belter or an intimate cabaret sparkler and poet but she also swings the house down. And when she does Andrews Sister voice-over dubs, she is completely winning.
...The first thing you will notice about Gabrielle Stravelli is that voice: Unforced, earthy, flexible, playful and unpretentious, her jazzy/cool spectrum of colors offers twirls of tremolos and trills that never sound like tricks (and no belting — hallelujah!).The second thing I noticed on her great new well-produced release, Dream Ago, were Pat O’Leary’s arrangements...The trifecta is completed here by terrific songs, and not necessarily from well-known composers... Best of all, her seemingly boundless range and flavors give us one of the most refreshing covers of “It Might As Well Be Spring” I’ve ever heard: ornamental without being ostentatious, I wonder why more singers can’t reinvent the American songbook while keeping their distinction. While I long for lyrics with more bite on the original songs (8 out of 12 tracks), it’s also a brave and adventurous CD: The title cut is an atmospheric, reflective tune without any hooks, but let it wash over you and even the great Ellington may come to mind.
Hot stuff. It’s certainly a swinging, grown up record for grown up times that just simply kicks ass. Get on board so you can still catch the tail end of claiming you knew about her first. She can trumpet the fact that hot shots from Wynton Marsalis, Fred Hersch and Bob Dorough all adore her, as have audiences around the world.
She has a nice way with a lyric and she’s a fine tunesmith in her own right! My kind of jazz singer!
She opens her new CD with the Cole Porter classic ‘Dream Dancing,’ in swingin’ fashion, displaying her wonderful chops and even including an overdubbed choir, with an alluring arrangement. She also recorded Bob Dorough’s ‘Where Is The Song?’, one of those truly typical Dorough cuts; witty, intelligent, humorous, compelling. Gabrielle is pretty good with the ballads, too. On ‘If Only Love Was Blind,’ there are fleeting moments of Helen Merill in her phrasing and the use of the celeste, played by Art Hirahara, only adds to the haunting mood here. Her version of ‘It Might As Well Be Spring’ is fresh and spruced-up. There is more original material coming in the shape of ‘Prism,’ full of joy and optimism and sincerity.