'What makes her talent unique is the instrumental quality of her own vocal jazz. Simply put, she adds another horn to any combo she sings with. She can improvise with complete confidence: she can hear changes; has unerring pitch; a thin, flexible vibrato; a sure sense of time and phrasing; and an enviable range. ' --- Jazz Times ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Small Hotel Liner Notes - by Marvin Stamm I first heard Rosana Eckert sing eight years ago. We both performed at a fund-raiser my musical partner Ed Soph had organized to benefit an environmental group he headed. I was taken not only with the warmth and elegance of her voice, but also the straightforwardness with which she delivered her lyrics. I'm not fond of the typical gospelizing and vocal acrobatics of most singers today, so Rosana's approach was a fresh sound to my ears. Like most instrumental musicians, I also have "a thing" about most singers. Of course, I revere Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Peggy Lee, Carmen McRae, and others of that class, but over the years, few singers impress me as being on that level. Having said this, I must admit to repenting somewhat, having recently found myself taken by several singers who have reeducated me and brought me back into the fold. Rosana is one of the significant singers who has converted me. My first opportunity to perform with Rosana came in January 2006 at the IAJE Conference held in New York City. Playing with her in a group is like being with another fine horn player. She has beautiful tone quality, excellent intonation, horn-like phrasing, and an approach to improvising more like that of an instrumentalist than a vocalist; she sings long lines, using vocal tools that make it unnecessary to employ the usual, corny "scat" syllables. It is a style that is, to me, reminiscent of Miles Davis. I was delighted that Rosana asked me to be on this CD. Performing with her is a very rewarding experience. It is so easy to play with her because she is such a schooled and experienced musician. Rosana's group is definitely a jazz group rather than that of a singer with an accompanying trio or quartet. She is extremely respectful of the band members, allowing each one his space to "blow." Their music is all about "we," not "me," and it was very easy as a guest soloist to be integrated into her music. The band melds perfectly with Rosana, accentuating each mood and bringing out the feeling of each individual song. Brian Piper's responsive keyboards, Chris McGuire's woodwind work, guitarist Aaron Kelley's solos and accompanying sounds, Mike Drake's insightful drumming, and Gary Eckert's percussion, all serve the musical picture with taste and sensitivity. And I must make special mention of bassist John Adams, a wonderful accompanist and excellent soloist. I have played with him many times and his musical support is always just as it should be. Rosana has chosen well. I don't usually care to give summations of a CD's music because music is for listening, not for reading about. But there are so many marvelous moments on this CD that I feel inclined to mention some special ones that moved me. I fell in love with "A Small Hotel." It's just Rosana, alone at the piano -- so warm, so soft and personal. "Sayin' It Straight" features Rosana with guest bassist Christian McBride "in duo." Rosana sings husband Gary Eckert's original song and performs the horn lines like an instrumentalist. Her improvising has the feel of the earlier vocalists, not like the syllabic approach of most singers who try to scat. Christian is brilliant as always. Their duo improvising toward the end of the tune shows a real sensitivity to one another. And check out "Lost in the Skies," Rosana's moody, smoky tune. The band plays with a laid back, sexy feeling. Chris McGuire contributes lovely tenor lines behind Rosana, following with an excellent solo that fits the mood perfectly. Brian Piper continues stirring the pot with his own creative interpretation. "In the Still of the Night" features a beautiful arrangement by Rosana, showcasing this Cole Porter classic. She and the group take you on a warm, floating journey, bringing you right into the middle of the music. I love the alternate harmony she employs on her arrangement of this piece. Listen also to the marvelous piano solo by Brian Piper. "Moon and Stars" is a beautiful original piece that I was so pleased to be asked to play with Rosana. The lyrics are touching, deep, written for someone close to Rosana who searches for true love. "Dreaming" is another of Rosana's tunes. As she wrote to me: "This song is simply about dreaming and how it often takes us to the truest places in our minds. It can be a time when our subconscious gives deeper thought to troubling events or worries (things we might be denying during the daylight hours) or it can perhaps be a time of refuge from a painful reality." What more need be said. Harold Land's beautiful tune "Rapture" begins with John Adams' bass and Brian Piper's introduction. Rosana's voice appears as that of an instrumentalist rather than a vocalist. She follows her statement of the melody by "playing" a beautiful solo, then turning it over to saxophonist Chris McGuire. After the reprise of the melody, Rosana and Chris solo together to take the tune out. There are so many great moments and these are just a few of mine. But I must mention one more really special piece. Rosana's husband/producer Gary accompanies her on Cole Porter's "So in Love," providing vocal and percussive backing reminiscent of Bobby McFerrin with whom he has worked. This is an absolutely charming and even intimate rendition of a great song by two very talented musicians! Enough from me! I know you will enjoy this musical journey much more if I stop writing and let you listen. That's where the real joy is! How do I really feel about Rosana? Just this: It would be my pleasure to perform with her anytime, anywhere, any place, because this lady, Rosana Eckert, is somethin' special! Marvin Stamm.