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A great voice given room

By Mili Bermejo & Dan Greenspan

GM Recordings: 1998

This review first appeared in the December 26, 1998 edition of the American Reporter.

With a voice as strong and pure and beautiful as Mili Bermejo's, it's a blessing for us that she chooses only a stand-up bass as accompaniment on her latest release.

"Duo" was actually re-released for national distribution almost a year ago, and only found it's way into the CD player during annual end-of-year house-cleaning efforts. But it is such a lustrous vision of jazz that it demanded review, no matter how tardy the reviewer.

As a vocalist, Bermejo is in pretty select company. Richly timbred and distinctive, she sings with that seeming lack of effort that marks the great ones. Like a Betty Carter or Sarah Vaughan, Bermejo blends seamless breathing and great tone to seem more like an instrumentalist than singer.

The arrangements are stripped down, bare. The style is mostly straight-ahead jazz – the songs are originals by Bermejo and covers of Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Lee Morgan and Milton Nascimento.

But the songs aren't the stars here – the voice is, and you get the feeling she could sing any song and make you love it. This appears to be only the second album for the Boston-area singer; those of us living in other locales can only hope there will be more to allow us to follow her career.