Melanie Jackson & Sal Cracchiolo | Fly

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Jazz: Latin Jazz Jazz: Jazz Vocals Moods: Type: Improvisational
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by Melanie Jackson & Sal Cracchiolo

A blend of jazz standards and originals all done with a tasty Latin touch.
Genre: Jazz: Latin Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Sweet Bean
4:45 album only
2. Fly
4:48 album only
3. A Spring Day With You
3:57 album only
4. Si No Hay Amor
3:30 album only
5. Waltz For Debby
4:38 album only
6. Moanin'
5:26 album only
7. One Note Samba
4:25 album only
8. If I Should Lose You
5:38 album only
9. When October Goes
3:50 album only
10. Like Someone In Love
4:58 album only
11. A Night In Tunisia
4:25 album only
12. It Might As Well Be Spring
5:10 album only


Album Notes
Melanie Jackson and Sal Cracchiolo
(SaMel Music)
The U.S. west coast has always been a fertile territory for outstanding Latin jazz enterprises of a vocal nature, as illustrated by the memorable collaborations between Cal Tjader and Carmen McRae (or between Poncho Sanchez and Dianne Reeves), as well as the wonderful sessions elaborated by Clare Fischer & Salsa Picante. Considering such vital antecedents, one should not be surpised by the high qualitative level of the allied debut of the relentless trumpeter Sal Cracchiolo (of Poncho Sanches fame, now with the Clayton/Hamiton Big Band) and his lovely spouse - the dynamic songstress Melanie Jackson.
Although most of the repertoire of standards and originals falls within the clave-based Cuban branch of what is known today as Latin jazz, Cracchiolo and Jackson also prove to be equally fluent in the aforesaid genre's Brazilian field, as well as in the straight-ahead idiom. In terms of his enunciation, as in the case of his mentor (the one and only Bobby Shew), Salvatore is able to move and change musical shape, without separating under pressure, ideally complementing the robust alto range of the other half of Norwalk, California's best kept musical secret.
Luis Tamargo

LA Jazz Scene
CD Reviews
Trumpeter Sal Cracchiolo and vocalist Melanie Jackson, two outstanding musicians with substantial credits have joined talents and efforts to create this vocal Latin Jazz delight.
The CD includes a superb combination of Latin-drenched jazz standards and originals in a variety of rhythms. In it Cracchiolo reveals a gift for composing, and Jackson for lyrics.
The opening number, "Sweet Bean," is an inviting cha-cha. The title cut, "Fly," is a lively piece in 3/4 Latin feel, where Jackson seats some dazzling lines in unison with Cracchiolo's flugelhorn. "A Spring Day With You" is a burning instrumental mambo-jazz, written and arranged by Cracchiolo. "Si No Hay Amor" is a bolero with exquisite changes, and features altoist Gary Foster. In "One Note Samba" Jackson sings the first chorus with an R&B feel, then the arrangement moves into a brisk samba. Jackson and pianist Joe Rotundi in a masterful duo perform Barry Manilow's ballad "When October Goes."
In "Moanin'," bass and piano play an intro in unison , and then drums, piano, congas and chekere' come in an infectious 6/8. The arrangement goes straight-ahead at the bridge,. Jackson carries the melody with soul and assertiveness. Cracchiolo delivers one of his fiery improvisations. Then Rotundi takes over and swings through 6/8 and straight-ahead. At the end comes a rumba that features Papo Rodriguez on chekere', and a picante conga solo by guest percussionist Poncho Sanchez (Cracchiolo's boss in his "day job").
Jackson begins singing "A Night In Tunisia" over an intro bass line and claves. Then congas come in mambo, and the band joins at the bridge in straight-ahead.
All through the recording Cracchiolo's hot chops and dynamic lines swing with marvelous sense of rhythm. And Jackson's sweet and strong voice is amazingly at ease in mambos, cha-chas and sambas, as it is in straight-ahead ballads or swing.
Cracchiolo's trumpet and Jackson's voice blend beautifully in the improvisation-like unisons in "Fly" and "Night In Tunisia."
Jackson and Cracchiolo, partners in music and in life, are joined in this project by some of the most in-demand LA Latin jazz musicians. Pianist Joe Rotundi, Bassist Rene' Camacho, percussionist Jose' "Papo" Rodriguez, drummer Kendall Kay and composer/arranger Charlie Otwell, contribute their talent and each of their unique styles to the high quality of this work.
Highly recommended.
The CD is available at, or at
-Patricia Albela

Creating beautiful music together....

Dynamite, Exciting, Gorgeous, Classy, Soulful ... some nice adjectives indeed. Those are the ones that come to mind when I listen to this debut new recording from Melanie & Sal Cracchiolo. When I first heard this CD I was listening to Jazz on the Latin Side with Jose Rizo on KLON. I stopped what I was a doing at the time and said..." Man oh man who is that?". I frequently say that while listening to Jose's program. I think the reason is he plays material that will make your senses jump and say " nice stuff".
That is exactly what I said when I heard the sounds from the great disc. I couldn't wait to contact Jose and see if he could "share" a copy with me. Having been an admirer of Sal Cracchiolo for many years, I was more than pleasantly surprised to know that he had finally recorded his own project. As you may know, Sal has been a member of the highly regarded Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz unit for over 16 years now. He has also performed with these recognized giants Dizzy Gillespie, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Shew, Cal Tjader, Stanley Turrentine, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Gary Foster, Arturo Sandoval, Eddie Harris and Celia Cruz. Impressive uh? I would most certainly say so. Did I also mention the fact that Sal has played on several movie soundtracks..? Well, to just name a few "The Mambo Kings", "The HBO Cinema Latin Session", "A Million to Juan" with funny man Paul Rodriguez.
Melanie Jackson is the proud owner of a gorgeous singing voice. I mean when I heard her sing my mouth dropped. Her voice has such a rich need to hear it for your self and you will see what I mean. She has had extensive experience on the concert circuit with acts such as REO Speedwagon, Jose Luis Rodriguez and Leonard Cohen. She has also worked in the studio on Commercials and Network promos. In 1979 she was voted the fourth best local Jazz act by Music Connection magazine.
Now the music on this disc was carefully chosen to create many different moods. Love, Laughter and of course, fun. I think they accomplished all of the above. In order for Melanie and Sal to create the sound they were after, they needed to call upon some longtime amigos to help out. Rene Camacho, Kendall Kay, Jose "Papo" Rodriguez, Rene Camacho, Charlie Otwell, Joe Rotundi Jr., Jim Szylagi and the great Poncho Sanchez.
If I was asked to choose a favorite tune I honestly, would not be able to. Each tune has it's own subtle beauty. As advertised, each tune will create many different emotions when you listen to them. "Sweet Bean" starts off the session with a strong and exquisite melody. A very nice Cha Cha that compliments Melanie's vocals. "Fly" the title track, arranged by Charlie Otwell (Poncho's original pianist) feature Sal at his best on the Flugelhorn. " Si no hay amor" translated -if there is no love a tender bolero sung in English by Melanie and the spotlight is on the alto sax beauty of Gary Foster. Another tune that will have you bailando is the sassy Guarija "If I should lose you" wow...listen to the grooving piano of Joe Rotundi and boom pat pat dun of Poncho's Congas on this one. Reminded me of the Willie Bobo Classic "Lisa" which by the way, was on Poncho's Latin Jazz Grammy winner Latin Soul with Sal on trumpet. Other classics that you will enjoy include "Waltz for Debby", "Moanin", "One Note Samba", "Like someone in love", " It might as well be Spring", a classy rendition of " A night in Tunisia" and an absolutely heart wrenching " When October goes" that was written by John Mercer and Barry Manilow the tune highlights the soft playing of Joe Rotundi on Piano along with Melanie.
All I can say is thank you Melanie and Sal. Thank you for your talents and for creating such a magical debut recording for all of us to enjoy.
"Fly" is right on!
Tu Amigo,
A review by:
Erik Chico Manqueros
Host & Producer for The Latin Style of Jazz radio show
& Contributing writer
Latin Style Magazine and

The impulse for velocity and exhilaration has been present in jazz since at least 1923, when pianist Jelly Roll Morton first recorded his "King Porter Stomp." The tune is something of an anthem, echoing throughout the history of the music, from Fletcher Henderson's arrangement for Benny Goodman in the swing era to Gil Evan's' modern-jazz chart for Cannonball Adderley to Gil's electric '70's treatment to Air's 1979 funky deconstruction. The may not have had Jelly in mind, but trumpeter Sal Cracchiolo and vocalist Melanie Jackson are extending his bent for creative excitement with their debut recording, "Fly".
Cracchiolo is probably best known for his unflagging lead voice in the most visible Latin jazz unit in Southern California, that of conguero Poncho Sanchez. While there are a couple of ballads on this collection of small band tracks, for the most part Cracchiolo and Jackson indulge in bright tempos, in-the-pocket swing, and full dynamics. They're going for the burn
Morton always extolled what he called "the Spanish tinge" as an essential element in jazz. In the New Orleans of the early part of the century, he was hearing tangos and Cuban habaneras. He'd probably be gratified to hear how thoroughly the Afro-Cuban and Puerto Rican music have been integrated into present-day jazz, exemplified by Charlie Otwell's arrangements and the clave-wise playing on Fly. The hard-bop standard "Moanin'" is Latinized by Otwell; Jackson sings Jon Hendricks' venerable lyrics and manages to retain the sanctified feeling over a clave beat. Jobim's "One Note Samba" is cross-pollinated with an Afro-Cuban groove that Jackson takes on a hell-bent rollercoaster ride, alongside the jocular sound of alto saxophonist Gary Foster.
The quartets and quintets here are often augmented by the Latin percussion of Jose "Papo" Rodriguez, and Cracchiolo's playing is equal parts jazz and Latin. His articulation, is fluid and sure-footed in the mode of his mentor, Bobby Shew. Cracchiolo's brisk "A Spring Day With You" is a steeplechase as pianist Joe Rotondi Jr.'s montunos synchronize beautifully with trap drummer Kendall Kay and Rodriguez's congas. Cracchiolo's trumpet glides gracefully over the changes with muscular authority. Jackson is a bel canto alto with a husky film around the edges of her voice. She swings hard on Bill Evan's "Waltz For Debby" (with a wonderful, pointed bass solo by Putter Smith) and swings easy on "Like Someone in Love."
---Kirk Silsbee



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Pietro by Radio-Vinilemania

Fantastic CD!!
CD superbo!!!

La grande voce di Melanie Jackson associata alla tromba del Marito Sal Cracchiolo e agli ottimi arrangiamenti musicali nonchè la partecipazione in alcune tracce del percussionista Poncho Sanchez rendono questo CD veramente unico e bellissimo all'ascolto anche per chi è alle prime armi con il Jazz latino.

CD apprezzatissimo in Italia che diventa subito un TOP di Radiovinilemania!!!


Ciao ciao Pietro