“Sing a Song of Bird” by Roseanna Vitro a tribute to Charlie Parker

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Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame inductee and Grammy-nominated vocalist Roseanna Vitro’s latest project is a tribute to jazz great Charlie Parker and the friends of Vitro who helped her make the album. “Sing a Song of Bird” was released Sept. 24, 2021, and is a spirited celebration of the work of Parker and of jazz in general.

About “Sing a Song of Bird” by Roseanna Vitro

With a running time of a little more than an hour, Vitro and friends present lively interpretations of some of Parker’s most beloved songs. The re-done lyrics by Vitro, Bob Dorough, and Shelia Jordan appear in session one. For session two, Vitro and Marion Cowings provide vocals.

Some of the new lyrics detail how the singer was introduced to Parker’s work. Audiences can tell a great deal of care and planning went into the conceptualizing and recording of the album.

In the age of COVID-19, anything that required people to gather was difficult to do. So the pandemic accounted for one delay. But there were other concerns. Chief among them was the health of Dorough. At one of their last scheduled shows in New York City, he pulled out due to his failing health. Dorough went to hospice care shortly after. Because of Dorough’s condition, Vitro hurried to organize a recording session to capture the vocals he had created. Turned out that Dorough was released from hospice after his health improved.

Vitro enlisted the help of top East Coast musicians to bring the project to life. Mark Gross on alto saxophone; Dean Johnson on bass, and veteran jazz drummer Bill Goodwin.

The album was delayed because of COVID-19 and the eventual passing of Dorough.

The sound of “Sing A Song of Bird” by Roseanna Vitro

The sound is classic jazz. The instrumentation sounds crisp and engages audiences right away. Interested parties should compare Vitro’s versions to Parker’s originals. Songs like “Bird’s Song” and “Grappling With the Apple” are thoughtful and energetic. Audiences will appreciate the sound and spirit of the album. Listeners will appreciate the album’s concept and eventual soundscape after hearing what Vitro and friends had to endure to record it.

“Sing A Song of Bird” is a must-listen for jazz fans, fans of Vitro and Bird, and anyone interested in the future of jazz. Vitro’s idea for an album to honor jazz great, Charlie Bird is a stand-out album for 2021. While Dorough’s passing is a sad footnote on the project, the album can be added to his legacy.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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