Live Performance Review

The 2006 Songlines Festival kicked off on a hot Saturday afternoon with an outstanding performance from the Sydney jazz vocalist Virna Sanzone...

With Gerard Masters on keys, Dave Hibbard on drums and Alex Hewetson on bass, Virna stepped into a lively bluesy number...allowiing her immediately to display what deep vocal strength and technique she posessed. This was followed by the rarely heard Mose Alison number "What's With You" performed with fine jazz style allowing Virna to relax and take command of the gig. From then on it was all plain sailing from a true professional with polish and pure vocal definition.

A fantastic rendition of "Compared To What" was the highlight... Shining through all of this was the voice, somewhat reminiscent of Aretha Franklin in her finer earlier...years, yet delivered in a style honed and perfected by a very talented performer in her own right.

To an...appreciative audience...Virna Sanzone delivered a soulful and at all times passionate performance.

Barry O'Sullivan, STIX - October 2006

"Virna Sanzone" Album Reviews


Virna Sanzone, one of Sydney's most accomplished jazz vocalists, puts an ample dash of soul into everything she does. This, her long awaited and much anticipated debut album is evidence of that, from the opening tune to the last. Sanzone performs a beautiful selection of jazz, gospel, soul and popular standards, and includes a couple of originals that display her fine skills as a burgeoning songwriter. Whether capturing the fragility of a ballad like A Time For Love or the deep gospel mood of I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free, Virna Sanzone's voice is informed by her fine melodic sensitivity, her sophisticated understanding of the jazz tradition and above all, her characteristically rich, soul-drenched feel.


Her voice floats over the lyrical and spacious arrangements, delivered by a cast of subtle and perceptive musicians. Most importantly, there is a strong sense of harmony and mutual awareness between vocalist and band – the interaction is at all times skilful and very musical. This CD is a most satisfying and uplifting listening experience.

Jasmine Crittenden, Drum Media, 17/5/05 

Sydney vocalist Virna Sanzone's self-titled debut CD is mostly mainstream with a funky feel, plus a sprinkling of ballads, but it's the slower numbers that best demonstrate her purity of tone and vocal range. In a style reminiscent of Carole King, especially on King's original Surely , Sanzone delivers a diverse repertoire of songs from Bruce Cockburn, Mose Alison, Cole Porter and others. Backings, up to sextet size, are smoothly provided by some of Sydney's top flight jazz players. Exhilarating solos come from Sam Rollings on guitar and recent winner of the prestigious Freedman Fellowship Matt McMahon's always inventive piano. These are polished arrangements – mostly written by Sanzone – with precise swinging from everyone. A standout track is the ballad A Time For Love , on which Sanzone's voice slides beautifully in graduated steps to the upper register, and there's a tenderly compatible solo from Phil Slater's trumpet.

John McBeath, The Weekend Australian 24-25/9/05 

Autumn is setting in. You can tell by the sheets of rain pelting down the windows, the scarved-up couples huddled over cups of coffee…all of which necessitates a soundtrack of sorts to accompany said colder climate. The debut solo album by Virna Sanzone is just that: a gentle, soothing collection of songs that lulls you into a drowsy state of homemade soup comfort. Although a mixture of covers and originals, the sparse, easy jazz stylings of Sanzone keep the set cohesive, a stream of tinkered keys, nodding bass and polite brushes. However, they merely act as a hanger onto which Sanzone can fling her voice. Of course, her smooth crooning is not so much flung as sent lightly to dance as it pleases, like dandelions in the wind… Virna Sanzone is for when you're settling down with a glass of red at the dinner party…while that fire you lit for “mood” value crackles in the corner. Virna Sanzone would and should be played: In Borders and Starbucks nationally.

Vivian Huynh, BRAG 23/5/06

Virna Sanzone sounds eerily similar to Norah Jones on her self-titled debut album. Like Jones, Sanzone achieves a soothing blend in songs such as “April After All' and “A Time For Love” by relying on melody and acoustic instruments. She has chosen her backing musicians well. Their skilful orchestration complements Sanzone's delicate voice.

In an era of Britney, Beyonce and other pop starlets, Sanzone's restraint is a novelty and a welcome relief.

Andrew Taylor, Sydney Central Courier 29/6/05 

Sydney jazz singer Virna Sanzone's debut solo CD is a joy. Her repertoire includes Ron Sexsmith's fine "April After All". and it's sung beautifully like all the others. Produced in association with ABC Radio's Jazztrack Program.

Good Medicine - May 2005



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