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JazzWax: CD discoveries of the week --Marc Myers
"Pianist Michelle Pollace has a strong commanding presence on New Beginning. Like a baker, she has a way of gently whipping rhythms until they are cohesive and taut. Eight of the 10 songs on the album are originals infused with Latin-jazz rhythms. Pollace digs in on every track, and songs like 'Forro' and 'Bright Eyes' evolve into mini-suites. She even had the courage to take on 'Over the Rainbow,' brilliantly adding imaginative vibrancy to the squeezed-dry standard. Pollace is a daring player whose music is dramatic and alive." READ original review here.

Midwest Record  --Chris Spector

"Heading out on her own after being in bands, Pollace brings the Latin to the jazz and creates wonderful cocktail jazz that is a gasser. She doesn't feel a need to change the world and that's fine with us, sometimes we're really happy just to have something that keeps the good times rolling. With more gusto than simple background music, it's clear Pollace is a real player but has no qualms about being an entertainer if she's going to make her living as an entertainer. She's got such a driving style that works so well that it doesn't phase you when the up-tempo numbers just keep coming. Well done." READ original review here.

Jazz Word  --John Barron
"Upbeat Latin jazz with a pop flair, New Beginning is a well-conceived release from pianist Michelle Pollace. A strong backing band, including bass veteran David Belove and drummer Phil Hawkins, helps to create an exuberant vibe through various Afro-Cuban and Brazilian inspired grooves. Pollace sounds most inspired on funky pieces such as 'Ondas do Mar' and 'First Flight,' as well as the montuno-driven 'That Was Then.' " READ original review here.

Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange  --Mark S. Tucker
"Think 'Somewhere over the Rainbow' has been done to death yet? You couldn't be more wrong, 'cause Michelle Pollace kicks off New Beginning with a version that interpolates Guaraldi and Brubeck, dancing the old standby through the county fair in a spring dress of pastel colors and high spirits. Her version even makes one wonder why no one's tackled it in this fashion before. All along, the song was a natural for improv, and we never even knew it. In fact, though the ground level in New Beginning is south of the border in its samba, rumba, and other manifestations, I'm highly reminded of Ahmad Jamal's, Charles Lloyd's, and others' old canons of work.

Pollace's approach is effervescent, sprightly, but perfectly weighted throughout, and with lots of clever squibs and ornaments, her backing band keeping things lively even in the initially balladic numbers (the title song and elsewhere) that inevitably get frisky and start romping around. The number that most struck me, though, was 'Forro,' named after the Northeastern Brazilian style, which is more structurally complex than I'd expected be yet light and airy, bouncing along like a gazelle in the altiplano (okay, okay, that's a mixed metaphor in more ways than one, but it does sound like a gamboling gazelle, a springbok, a blackbuck; do they have any of those in South America?). 'La Comparsa' contains tango and bolero elements, and Kristen Strom's soprano sax comes across like Stanley Turrentine in an especially reflective mood … that soon turns more extroverted.

And that's not a bad adjective for this CD: extroverted. Melancholy is a distant bell, clouds do not gather overhead, and the blues have been officially cancelled for another day, pushed much further into the month, maybe even the end of the year. Maybe never. Even the moody 'First Flight' first shines in contemplation then gets up and treads terra firma like a ballet dancer with a good backbeat in her soul, a cut Joe Zawinul would've been proud to have written (with Klaus Doldinger looking over his shoulder). Yep, no matter where you go in New Beginning, get ready to smile because Ms. Pollace, recently a mother and not about to dwell in the dark, is beaming and wants everyone to catch that most welcome virus." READ original review here.

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Songs from Michelle's latest CD, "New Beginning." Offer valid for a limited time.

Michelle Pollace - New
                                    Beginning CD cover