Michele Mele
Independent (www.michelemele.com)

With the release of ChaCha, composer and vocalist Michele Mele clearly illustrates not only her ineffable sweetness of soul, but a gamin wit, impeccable phrasing and mastery of the delicious musical hook. On this, her fifth (and finest) recording, Mele shines on keyboards and her pure, distinctive vocals are in full force and gorgeously recorded. For this project, brilliant producer and guitarist Greg Kavanagh has assembled a tight, groovy cadre of A-List players, including Michael Stewart on sax, Bill McBirnie on flute and guitarist Lou Bartolomucci (notably on Cabana Boy and Answer Every Question). The material on ChaCha is a tasty mix of brand new songs and several previously recorded tunes that have been given a complete (and delightful) re-imagining, such as the charming Tree Frogs (originally written for her then ten-year-old son in celebration of his love of amphibians).

Mele is a natural, highly connective and communicative performer and writer, who made quite a splash recently with her hit one-woman show “Naked on the Rocks.” Her appealing Astrud Gilberto-ish vocals are a refreshing change from the over-wrought divas all too frequently holding sway on the airwaves and in the clubs. The title track is irresistible – rhythmic, clever and sexy – and the Latin sizzler Hold Back Trigger is another stand-out, as is the lilting bossa, One Thing for Sure. Check out Michael Stewart`s potent solo on Stop Talking. This is a gem of a recording – the optimum soundtrack for a languid Sunday afternoon with the New York Times, a mimosa and the perfect company.

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