Rondi Charleston: Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered


Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered


Rondi Charleston (vocals)


In My Life (Emmamuse 00002)

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Rondi Charleston (vocals), Joel Frahm (tenor sax), Bruce Barth (piano), Sean O'Bryan Smith (bass), Clarence Penn (drums).

Composed by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart


Recorded: Englewood, NJ, date not given. Released April 21, 2009


Rating: 96/100 (learn more)

Charleston has taken an unusual career path. Leaving Juilliard to become an opera singer, she then went on to study journalism and developed into an award winning investigative reporter for Prime Time Live, where she worked with Diane Sawyer for six years. During that time, she gravitated to jazz and eventually decided to become a jazz singer full-time. In My Life is her third CD, and comes packaged with a separate DVD of a live performance at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola in New York.

Possessed of a limited middle-range voice, Charleston wisely chooses tunes that both fit her voice and have a tale worth telling: "What drives me is my passion to breathe life, honesty and integrity into every song and story." She's at her best on numbers like Lennon-McCartney's "In My Life," Evans-Lees' "Waltz for Debby," and the standard "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered." The latter features Bruce Barth's lovely intro and Charleston's silky rich and expressive renditions of the verse and chorus, which are graced by Joel Frahm's breathy obbligatos and Barth's sensitive asides. Charleston captures our attention completely through her heartfelt approach. This vocalist doesn't scat or take great liberties with the melodies that she sings, but she really doesn't need to. Frahm's tenor solo is further evidence of his emergence as one of today's top young saxophonists. Charleston's moving reprise and Frahm's delicately spun, complementary coda conclude this highly recommended track.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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