A great love song never goes out of style. Just ask Russian-born singer Sophie Milman, whose new release Take Love Easy blends timeless standards with modern pop masterpieces.
"I'm a better singer experimenting with feel and taking my vocals up a notch," she says.
Sophie got her start in a children's musical troupe after moving with her family from western Russia to Israel. At age 16, she settled in Toronto, Canada, where she gained a steady following on the local jazz scene. Take Love Easy is by far her most adventurous album to date, as she alternates between pages from the Great American Songbook and time-tested rock tunes by Bruce Springsteen, Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon.
Like Sophie Milman, singer Roberta Gambarini is at her best singing the music of Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer and other great American composers.
Roberta Gambarini, singing classics like "That Old Black Magic," has drawn comparisons to jazz divas Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. One of her frequent collaborators, veteran pianist Hank Jones, calls her "the best singer to emerge in over 60 years."
Roberta's quest to become a jazz musician began in her hometown of Turin, Italy, where she first learned to play clarinet. She turned to singing in her teens, and later won a scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.
Touring with some of today's top jazz stars led to her U.S. recording debut, Easy To Love, in 2006. The album earned a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Performance.
When it comes to choosing songs, Gambarini's first priority is making a personal connection with the lyrics and melody. Also important are the arrangements.
"For arrangement, I look for a presentation that allows the song to be the center of attention, and the message of the song to be delivered in the most direct and truthful way possible," she says.
Included on her latest album So In Love is a three-song tribute to Cole Porter, as well as her jazzy interpretations of The Beatles' "Golden Slumbers" and the Willie Nelson classic, "Crazy."