Joe Leo’s debut album…

Nothin’ But Love (VS review here) turned out to be nothin’ short of extraordinary.

Team Bwarie assembled an awesome group of musicians (Bucky Pizzarelli, Paulinho da Costa and the like) and featured Charlie Calello’s fabulous arrangements on an amazing album that was the perfect platform for JLB to showcase his distinctive singing style.

It was indeed an impressive debut and, well…

They’re at it again…

Throughout the late summer I was tracking JLB’s tweets about both the fun and toil of being back in the studio with Mr. C and that fine assemblage of musicians; it sounds like they’ve nearly got Joseph’s second LP release in the can … nearly.

They are looking to land one more song for the track list and are kicking off a “Name That Tune” contest tonight on Joseph’s FB fan page to land the last song on the album!

The contest runs from midnight tonight (EST) to midnight Monday (EST) and should be a lot of fun. Besides the prize haul, it would be a kick to pick THE song that makes the LP!

The contest rules are very straight forward, but there are a couple of gotchas to avoid so click through to Joseph’s FB page and get the lowdown in advance. Good luck … just stay away from my song!


It was just a couple of weeks ago…

… in a Frankie Randall review, that I lamented how frustrating it is to patiently wait for new album releases and material from the fresh talent making the American Songbook scene.

I chided Joseph Leo Bwarie specifically in that piece but only because his debut effort — Nothin’ But Love — was so damn good! (review here.)

To be fair…

…it’s only been a bit over a year since NBL hit the digital music shelves, and Joseph may have been somewhat occupied with his heavy Jersey Boys traveling show schedule. 😉 [Read more…]


Photo credit and © - James W. Thompson

Earlier this week…

…Brad “Martini” Chambers (of Martiniinthemorning fame) pointed me toward a rising young singing talent — Luca Ellis. After visiting Mr. Ellis’ website to listen to some of his material, all I can say is “wow”.

OK, you know me by now … and I always have more than one word to toss around on any topic, but I am going to keep it short here and simply suggest you also stop over to Luca’s website and take a listen.

Though yet to release his debut album, Luca has posted 16 full tracks of mostly classic Sinatra numbers … “I Wish You Love” is the first track and begins playing when you arrive on his site. Maybe my all time favorite Sinatra song … I was floored to hear this kid belt it out in a rich, confident, Sinatra-esk fashion.

“I Believe In You”, “Fly Me To The Moon”, “More”, “Let’s Fall In Love”, “I’m Gonna Live Until I Die” … Ellis’ web offering is the pop tenderloin cut of Sinatra’s oeuvre.

BTW, these are not low-ball demo tracks with scant accompaniment. On most, the production value is excellent with Ellis crooning an “albums worth” plus of Ken Wallace arranged American Songbook classics out in front of the Paul Litteral Orchestra. Somebody needs to get these guys in a recording studio or at the very least release these tracks … this is great stuff! [Read more…]


You’ll want to make your way to Chicago…

…on Monday May the 7th. Stop in at the Oak Brook Barnes & Noble to meet up with Joseph Leo Bwarie and hear the interesting backstory on the making of his outstanding debut album — Nothin’ But Love (VS review here.)

JBL stars as Frankie Valli in the touring edition of the Jersey Boys musical and he’s about halfway through his run at Chicago’s Bank Of America Theatre (finishes up June 3). He’ll be taking time out from his crazy schedule for a “meet and greet” and Nothin’ But Love CD signing.

The hoedown will include a Q&A session where Joseph will discuss his collaboration with the great Charlie Calello (producer/arranger) and what it was like to work with legendary musicians Paulinho da Costa and Bucky Pizzarelli.

This is a great opportunity…

…to meet a guy destined for greatness in the vocal standards arena and an event not to be missed if you’re in the Chicagoland area … click through for the Where/When and double-secret probation BONUS details. [Read more…]


…is pretty freaking spectacular.

Joseph Leo Bwarie was in town for SXSW last week … and I missed him. I heard a couple of months back that he was going to be in Austin to headline one of the venue nights but, I just couldn’t make it work in my schedule.

I was really teed off about the missed op to catch a guy that I’ve targeted on the “watch” list, but I decided to channel that angst into some critical listening of JLB’s debut album — Nothin’ But Love — only to emerge from those listening sessions even more pissed that I missed out on seeing him! [Read more…]


OK …

… the pasta did not contain Joseph Loe Bwarie — it does however include a creamy parmesan mushroom sauce that turned out to be a pretty nice Lent-friendly Friday dinner — JLB did bring a cool swinging ambiance to the evening though.

I missed a chance to catch Joe Leo while he was in town for a SXSW performance last week (crazy schedule) … the angst from that missed op finally boiled over yesterday and had me digging into Bwarie’s excellent Nothin’ But Love LP release most of the afternoon. [Read more…]


Three Guys to Put on your Standards “Watch List”…

I’m always on the hunt for new talent emerging in the standards arena and want to share three guys with you that I think are worth keeping track of. This is not a “top three” list, extensive review or anything like that — just three new players in the genre (new to me anyway) that I’ve tread across enough times lately to warrant pushing them into view.

I have to give top billing to Robert Davi…

…I mean the guy looks for all the world like a scary mobster and I don’t want any trouble! Interesting that his long distinguished acting career (Die HardGoonies, License to Kill … too many to name) started opposite Frank Sinatra in a TV movie back in ’77. Interesting because Davi became enchanted by Frank, his music and the standards in general and he’s now found time to translate that interest and his surprising vocal skills into a really quite-good 2011 debut album.

Robert doesn’t possess the range and unique vocal stylings of his mentor, but on his Davi Sings Sinatra: On the Road to Romance album he sort of strikes a Steve Lawrence-esk vocal pose with a sprinkling of Dean Martin over the top for spice. Good stuff.

[Read more…]