Matt Fogg, piano; Nicole Hajj, vocals; Shawn Boissonneault, drums and percussion; Brad Terry, clarinet; Lucas Cantor, guitar; Andy Rice, acoustic and electric bass; all arrangements by Matt Fogg.
The dynamic duo of pianist Matt Fogg and vocalist Nicole Hajj can normally be heard performing in upscale clubs and restaurants in Maine and New Hampshire. For this live debut, recorded in October 2004 at the Azure Café in Freeport, Maine, the pair was augmented to a sextet consisting of themselves plus Brad Terry on clarinet, Lucas Cantor on guitar, Andy Rice on bass, and Shawn Boissonneault on drums.
The CD is pure delight from start to finish, full of fresh musical surprises from the band and Hajj's wonderful voice. But what truly puts it over the top are Fogg's playing and arrangements. He is an exceptionally gifted arranger, capable of making the oldest standards sound contemporary and fresh. The music is highly accessible, rich without being overbearing with a modern sensibility that will appeal to a broad spectrum of listeners.
This is a local group deserving of far wider recognition. Let's hope they get it. If you live in the area or are traveling through New England, you should definitely check them out.
by Linda Goshay
Back to: August 2005 Vol. 15 No. 4 Table of Contents