BRING NOTHING BUT YOUR HEART - REVIEWS
Michael Bourne, Host, "Singers Unlimited," WBGO.org
An extraordinary talent.
From Amazon, 5 stars: Sue Maskaleris presents a varied set of cool, sophisticated and very original Brazilian and Latin jazz, infused with vocalise, by an award-winning composer/lyricist, singer/pianist and arranger/producer - herself! Sue arranged and produced the project; played piano/keyboards, sang vocals, and added a few cameos on violin, Brazilian guitar, and electric bass. The talent seems never to end - the variation of songs here performed is astonishing; exhilarating music.
From Rotcod zZaj of Improvijazznation: The Brazilian jazz she performs is far out ahead of the pack. MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
From LMNOP Magazine: This uniquely talented lady is also a pianist, composer, lyricist, arranger, and producer...plus she also plays electric and acoustic violin, guitar, and bass (whew!). It's no wonder Maskaleris has already become an in-demand composer and performer. Maskaleris is one super smart and talented artist.
From Yahoo.Com: Smooth and balmy, Maskaleris' treatment of Billy Strayhorn's 'Lush Life' displays her vocal chops as a moving singer Maskaleris' affinity for Brazilian music is thoroughly explored...
From KAMP Radio, Tuscon, AZ. David Witter "I don't have a helmet!” (from “Baiāo da Aclimaçāo.”) Sue Maskaleris plays most of the instruments you'll hear on the album, AND she sings.
Los Angeles Jazz Scene 1/8/14 by Scott Yanow
Sue Maskaleris on “Bring Nothing But Your Heart” gives one the impression that she can sing and do practically anything. She wrote all of the songs except “Lush Life,” sounds quite at ease when singing in unusual time signatures, arranged all of the music, plays piano and keyboards very well, and along the way also makes appearances on violin, guitar and bass. She sounds so comfortable with the more Brazilian-oriented songs that it is surprising to note that she is actually a Greek- American. The large supporting cast includes many talented Brazilian and American
musicians but Sue Maskaleris is the main star. She often overdubs her voices to form a vocal group, shows that she is equally skilled at scatting and interpreting ballads, and the joy of her music is conveyed to listeners. This CD by the very talented singer is well
worth checking out.
Emusic 12/13 /14
The music of Brazil encompasses various regional music styles influenced by African, European and Amerindian forms. After 500 years of history, Brazilian music developed some unique and original styles such as samba, bossa nova, MPB, RAP, sertanejo, Brazilian rock, pagode, tropicalia, choro, maracatu, frevo, forró, axé, brega, and others. What most impressed me about Sue Maskaleris and “Bring Nothing But Your Heart,” is her authenticity, honesty and superb ability to multi-task so many instruments, arrange, compose and vocalize anything her ear can imagine. It is rare to see so much talent wrapped into one person, but Maskaleris conveys her messaging with modern times lyrics, coupled with masterful technique. I hope to see her songbook taken in by other artists as well, as this music deserves a wide based platform and is worth being covered for many years to come.
MIDWEST RECORD 9/29/13
by Chris Spector
]If we weren’t living in an indie world, Maskaleris would make you shake your head and wonder how she had been hidden for so long. A multi-field threat, she writes/sings/leads and has this incredible ability to put it all out, front and center, in sterling fashion. Indulging in her love of Brazilian jazz, this set reminds you of a bunch of different ones but nothing you can really put your finger on. That’s because it’s all original. Keeping you on the edge of your seat just to hear what rabbit she’ll put out of her hat next in the furtherance of Brazilian or jazz or both, this set is such a gasser you just won’t believe it. Not wanting to be labeled as just another chick singer, she’s endeavored hard and thorough to be so much more. And she has succeeded mightily. And if you really need some penumbra effect to pull you into the tent, she provides lot of that as well. Just a killer set with loads of heart that’ll jump start yours. A winner.
Audiophile - 5 Stars
by Paul Wilson
Between looking at the cover art and listening to all twelve tracks, the Brazilian and Latin influence is evident throughout this CD. Maskaleris is hugely talented and wrote all the music and lyrics, co-engineered the CD, played keyboards, violins, electric bass, percussion and did all the arrangements. The second track, The Big Tiri (Greek for cheese) is recognition of her Greek heritage and
her Father - his nickname is The Big Tiri. Listening to this CD gives you the feeling of being on a beach somewhere in the South Pacific, so sit back and enjoy.
Overall - 8 Sonics - 8
Well, given the cover photo and the fact that Bring Nothing but your Heart is on the Jazilian label, I expected Braziliana from Sue Maskaleris but not this mixture of trad and delightfully mutated versions. The quirky title cut kicks off the CD, and if you consider what the nomenclature is really hinting at, then you'll be ready for the steamy lyrics she penned. In fact, except for one Strayhorn cut, she wrote and composed everything here while playing piano, guitar, violin, bass, and percussion along with her band, then plotted the superb arrangements and handled the production work, everything in fact except for overhauling the studio itself... and she probably did that too. That lead-off cut is difficult to describe precisely. Containing atonalities, tempo changes, shifted modalities, and an almost Michael Mantler-esque musical mindset at times, it nonetheless is distinctly trad-cored. Then there are those lyrics, all the more charged through the fact that Maskaleris is glamour/centerfold beautiful (yep, I'm a chauvinist!). Sue's been dubbed "the female Michael Franks" due to oft erotically playful and deceptively innocent verses, and the honorific is apt, but I'll dub in one more factor: she lushly captures the sensuality of Lonnie Liston Smith. The Big Tiri follows, a swingin' scatty-ish instrumental workout that more nakedly lays out what a great basic band she has backing her...augmented by appearances by Terry Silverlight, Mark Egan, Randy Weinstein, Steve Sacks, and others.
Her piano work in Two Ducklings is brilliant, simple but oh so perfect. To have added one more note or sped up the tempo one beat would've been to ruin the lyrical quality of the melodics. The take on Lush Life is delicious, trad jazz taken to Latin strains, the two bedding down blissfully like the couple inferred in the lead track, but skip over to O.C.D. for more of the gentle but notable deviations from orthodoxy. Maskaleris enjoys the admiration of many jazz notables (Lenny White, Mike Urbaniak, Toninho Horta, Mark Murphy, etc.), but I'm telling you here and now she's every inch their equal or, in Horta's case, awfully close. What more can I say? Only this: Bring Nothing but your Heart is decidedly Zoho label quality, even though it's independently released.
Jared Bernstein’s On the Economy blog 10/27/13
First, the great Sue Maskaleris (and old friend whose music I’ve featured here before)-her new album is deservedly the rage...BTW, her song “The Meaning” should, IMHO, be everyone’s new favorite X-mas song.
(Note: Jared, President Biden’s economic adviser and Chief Economic Adviser during the Obama years plays bass on “Love Will Overflow” from “Love Is The Key.”)
UNBREAKABLE HEART - REVIEWS
allaboutjazz.com 7/2/01 by David Nathan
She sings, she scats, she composes, she arranges, she plays piano, keyboards, percussion, recorder and violin. Not all at once, of course, it just sounds like it. Sue is a very busy person
on this her maiden album. This busyness permeates several of the tracks whose objective seems to be to create a myriad of multi-dimensional aural sensations.
She is extraordinarily talented, just bursting with it. There is much fun and intriguing music on this album played by extraordinary performers in addition to Maskaleris. The back and forth between her and hip icon Mark Murphy on “Scat!” alone is worth the price of admission. On “The Love Within” the singer opens with just guitar in support and things stay relatively simple throughout the tune allowing one to appreciate the appealing sonority of her voice. “I Can’t Cry Over You Any More” has a Motown feel and swings. “Younger Dreams” with quirky rhythmic patterns turns into a wild musical free for all filled with eerie ear catching melodies pushed along by Maskaleris, Doc Halliday, Eddie Gomez and Lenny White. It leaves one breathless. There’s much to rejoice over in Unbreakable Heart.
jazzreview.com: Jazz at a Glance Vol. 149 by Lee Prosser
Sue Maskaleris is a powerhouse of a performer, her talents as a jazz vocalist, pianist, violinist, arranger, composer, and recorder performer are readily evident in the Brazilian jazz/contemporary jazz CD release, “Unbreakable Heart.” Any performer who can master the sounds of the recorder instrument for jazz performances deserves attention and praise. She does it all with ease and honest perfect of feeling.
This CD collection sparkles with imagination and sensitivity with its 13 songs. Each song expresses a jazz motif in a flawless setting. Some of the songs will ignite feelings of longing while others will charm with their lively Brazilian tempo, but each is a surprise and highly enjoyable. The solo work on this collection is extraordinary and memorable, first rate performances.
If you are looking for something extraordinary, something with unusual music & lyrcis, something with outstanding solo performances give a listen. It is an entertainment joy, full of life and emotion. A winner in all ways.
Sue Maskaleris is a great talent. “Unbreakable Heart” deserves a lot of airplay time. Excellent collection.
Panorama Magazine of the Americas, Puerto Rico Vol. 3 #2, 2002
In her first solo album, the pianist, composer and singer Sue Maskaleris, accompanied by a first class group of musicians, presents a varied and enjoyable record, on a jazz wavelength with Brazilian influences. Most of the cuts on the record are winners of various prizes.
A notable aspect of this recording is the fact that she composed, wrote, the lyrics and arranged all the cuts, furthermore produced, played the piano and of course sang them: without doubt, an impressive demonstration of something we call talent, which we rarely have the opportunity to see or hear nowadays in the studio or on the radio.