Roberta Gambarini: You Are There
You Are There
Roberta Gambarini (vocals)
You Are There (EmArcy 10622)
Composed by Dave Frishberg and Johnny Mandel.
Recorded: New York, September 27, 2005
Rating: 85/100 (learn more)
Roberta Gambarini is a gifted vocalist who has earned high praise from critics and musicians alike. Blessed with perfect pitch (in a live show, you’ll never hear a pianist give her an opening pitch, even when she starts a song alone), she possesses a fine vocal instrument capable of remarkable agility. Her relationship with veteran pianist Hank Jones is both personal and professional, as she has saved Jones’ life twice in the past few years. So, with all that going for her, why am I less than enthralled by her recording of Dave Frishberg’s “You Are There”? Perhaps it’s the song itself: Frishberg lyric is about reflections and visions of someone who is not there, and while the song shouldn’t be sung with excessive emotion, Gamborini's performance is so understated that there's no emotional impact at all. It is beautifully sung, but utterly devoid of meaning. Jones plays exquisitely as usual, and his lovely introduction raises my overall appreciation for this track. I suspect if Jones were to perform a solo piano version of this song, it would be much more emotionally satisfying than the track presented here.
Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe