by Amad Franaquer Hassan
Thankfully there are artists like Linda Calise who are still interested in doing a combination of their tunes and ones by other artists that they reinvent and put their own spin on. One such great artist of the past was Joe Cocker, he could take a song that was a hit by another artist and instantly with his golden voice make it uniquely his own. Calise similarly has the ability to create a fresh and creative version of a tune we already know and love, and she allows us to dig deeper and look in a captivating new way. Happy to Be Loving You is Linda Calise’s third album and she combines songs we know, with her originals. Focusing on Smooth Jazz with a mix of Neo Soul and pop flavoring, Happy to Be Loving You combines several of Calise’s favorite cover songs, with a couple of songs co-written and produced by two award winning producers: Italian Composer/Producer Mauro Colangelo (“Happy to Be Loving You,” “Midnight Lover,” “Suit & Tie”) and Alex Krepkikh of AlexKProduction of Providence RI (“Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” and “Butterflyz”).
Happy to Be Loving You contains five tunes and features trombonist Jeff Galindo (MD for Esperanza Spalding) and on Trumpet, Doug Woolverton (Roomful of Blues) as well as the smooth vocals of Rhode Island based R&B singer Frank Rossi on the duet version of “Suit & Tie.” The latter highlights Calise’s soulful vocals and her fills are very passion filled and steeped in the blues. The two have an excellent vocal blend and complement each other very well. The arrangement is engaging and Galindo’s solo fills are right in line with the projects overall vibe.
“Happy to Be Loving You” is a Calise original that has a sexy groove, the vocals float atop the melody and the lyrics sing about enduring love. Calise is a fine vocalist and her control and warmth comes through on this melody. The background vocals and harmonies are a nice touch, and add a lot to the arrangement. The composition is full of surprises and interesting harmonic twists and turns. “Midnight Lover” is another fine Calise original, both have positive lyrics and fit well in the Neo Soul, Smooth Jazz genre.