A veteran of the Second City Touring Company, suburban Chicago native Denise La Grassa made her mark in that talented troupe with a bit called 'Make-A-Song,' writing and performing tunes on the spot based on any topic the audience shouted out. That loose, carefree and immediate vibe still permeates her third album, the recent DIY release 'April Dreams,' but don't let it fool you into thinking the music is tossed-off. With an impressive but never showy range and a self-assured, conversational delivery that brings to mind a jazzier Aimee Mann, La Grassa offers uniquely personal and melodically powerful takes on romance in standout originals such as 'Yesterday's Replay' and 'Best Day,' while local producer Matt Thompson (the Mighty Blue Kings, Frisbee) captures the spare but perfect accompaniment of a four-piece backing band. - Jim DeRogatis, Chicago Sun-Times & co-host of NPR's Sound Opinions April Dreams is a sultry album of original pop/jazz vocal compositions by Illinois-based singer Denise La Grassa. Featuring the solid rhythm-section work of guitarist Scott Tipping, bassist Matt Thompson, drummer Gerald Dowd and pianist Ben Lewis, the album is both tasteful and emotionally engaging. With catchy melodies, a strong ensemble performance and well-written lyrics, April Dreams weaves it's way through the entire spectrum of modern pop/jazz in a highly entertaining fashion. - Matt Wornock, All About Jazz.