Dancing with Johnny
Johnny Mercer's lyrics dance on a singer's lips. His words are intoxicating and sheer pleasure to sing, which may be why the greatest singers in the world have, and continue to, record his music. Mercer penned more than 1,700 songs with an arsenal of adjectives from an elegant and vintage era. Digging into the seemingly endless vault of Mercer's brilliance was like unearthing boundless musical treasures. His penetrating works of art are pure poetry; the scene unfolds: There's a dance pavilion in the rain all shuttered down, a winding country lane all russet brown, an icy window pane, shows me a town grown lonely... This grand and prolific lyricist was also a wonderful vocalist who understood the great juxtaposition of joy and profound responsibility that singers share in delivering the lyric. A Johnny Mercer lyric is all the wit you wish you had and all the love you lost... ~ Frank Sinatra It was no easy task making song choices for this project. I wanted to personalize the music with a rhythm that developed from phrasing Mercer's lyrics and was lucky enough to work with some of the best instrumentalists in Jazz today. In the course of the project's evolution, there was a pull toward Latin rhythms and grooves, and we went with it. It was my intent to tribute Johnny Mercer with a recording which is both romantic and moving. We hope it will make your heart feel like dancing... "As a jazz singer who digs the melodies and playing with them, Linda Ciofalo's one-nighter was a field day. Every selection had a distinct style. Amiable and game, Linda never seemed out of step. Linda was true to the lyrics. Unpretentious and warm, she brought heart and joy to the Mercer catalogue. Linda's a pleasure and a pro." Rob Lester, N.Y.Nightlife "...she is blessed with a voice as warm, bright and shimmering as a smog-free country morning." Jazz Times Magazine New York-based vocalist Linda Ciofalo had her Metropolitan Room debut celebrating the Centennial of Johnny Mercer. Ciofalo opened the proceedings giving "Tangerine" a salsa beat. " Early Autumn" is a wonderfully impressionistic lyric nicely enhanced by the languid bolero feeling that evolved as Ciofalo caressed the words. " Days of Wine and Roses" was set in an unusual funkish framework that was surprisingly effective. The samba beat that pervade "Day In Day Out" got my feet moving, and, I imagined, had others wishing for a dance floor." Joe Lang, Jersey Jazz Journal.