Orna – The Very Thought Of You

Orna – The Very Thought Of You [A440 MusicGroup]

                                                                                                Craig “Craigy-G” Fitzpatrick


Thinking of you

Every so often an alternate median will come along to shake up the stability within the record industry. The latest incarnation that has record execs shaking in their boots is the Internet and the i-pod. Only time will tell how ninety-nine cent downloads and 30-second music samples will either help or hurt the cause but a relative newcomer to the jazz vocals scene named Orna has certainly received her share of inquiries. She is a wonderfully talented young recording artist from South Africa that studied film scoring at the Berklee College of Music after she completed her studies at the University of Witwatersrand. Her debut project, The Very thought of you, has gathered a lot of attention and has the music critics (myself included) buzzing with enthusiasm. Orna’s sensual but articulate delivery already has her name mentioned within the same arena as some of the more successful contemporary jazz singers. 

She has teamed up with famed bassist Brian Bromberg who also has the responsibilities of producing and arranging and I think that has helped to make this a special project. Brian has been playing the bass professionally for over twenty-five years and is well respected for his ability to play solo as well as he performs as a bandleader. The other musicians that contributed to the excellent musical flavor are Tom Zink on piano, Chris Wabich on drums and percussion, Tony Guerrero on trumpet and flugelhorn, Gannin Arnold on guitar, and Gary Meeks on flute. As a group, this ensemble produces a sound that is well-rehearsed and sensational and provide an excellent compliment to this outstanding performance.

The Very Thought Of You, is a beautiful collection of familiar Ballads that have some contemporary arrangements highlighted with a bossa nova and rumba beat. The opening tune “Ntyilo, Ntyilo” or love bird, made famous by the mother of South African jazz vocals, Miriam Makeba, is performed with a light airy voice. Over the years the songs ownership rights have been controversial but there is no controversy as to how well Orna sings it. She is so pristine and tender in her delivery that it feels as though she’s singing personally to the listener. “Nature Boy” is sung with a refreshing simplicity and an engaging softness. Bromberg’s performance on bass really anchors this tune while Tom Zink’s work on piano is romantic and penetrating. Orna sings with a sweet seductiveness and overall the song has a lasting effect. Her performance on “My Favorite Things” is liquid and crystal clear. Gannin Arnold on guitar and Tony Guerrero on brass add to the splendor by delivering with a tailored elegance.

The title track, “The Very Thought Of You,” is a wonderful ballad that is performed with a caring tenderness and warmth. Chris Wabich’s supportive touch with the brushes compliments the already seductive rendition by Orna, and Zink’s performance on the piano adds the ideal touch that is lovely and sensuous. Despite the trio setting, the tune has breath and is full of extension that I found very enjoyable. 

It’s not that often that I have the opportunity to listen to a CD from a new vocalist that sings with such substance and maturity, and has a band that plays with excellence. Collectively the project is a complete success. If it is not obvious by now, I really enjoyed this CD as much for the vocals as for the wonderful play by the band. Orna’s silky smooth vocals on some timeless classics should bring extensive appeal and if the current group of young contemporary jazz singers (Orna included), are the beneficiaries of the latest technical innovations, then I don’t think that the record execs should lose any sleep at night. Her sound is crisp, articulate, and her passionate voice gave me the impression that I was experiencing a personal concert by the artist. So do yourself a favor, save yourself some time on downloads and just pick up a copy of The Very Thought Of You. I really think that you will want to add this intimately performed CD to the list of your favorite things because she certainly sings as though she has you in mind. Highly recommended!

If you would like to contact Craig he can be reached at Craigy_g2@stereotimes.com



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