With All Things Gold, Melanie emerges onto the jazz scene from an unexpected place, a strictly-disciplined classical background. Her conservatory training brought her to a career focused on avant-garde vocal chamber music, premiering new American works extensively throughout the USA and abroad. A lifetime of working closely with renowned composers catalyzed her own journey into composition. What emerges is her own unique brand of music - straight-up acoustic vocal jazz in a champagne glass – swinging, clean, cool and refined.
This disc boats a stellar assortment of the best New York jazz musicians around: Matt King on piano, Andy Eulau on bass, and Scott Neumann on drums; rounded out with first-rate horn players Mike Lee (sax), Jim Cifelli (trumpet/flugelhorn), Nick Afflitto (trumpet) and Erick Storckman (trombone).
These 15 tracks, all penned by Mitrano with original music and lyrics, put the emphasis on story-telling. Her engaging lyrics draw audiences in, while her first-rate band provides the solid and rhythmic grid she spins her tales upon. Whether it’s good old-fashioned swing, a bossa, rhumba, pop ballad, or a gritty tune in an unusual meter, Mitrano uses whatever is takes to get her point across, and she does it with skill and style. These intensely varied and deftly executed songs are bold new additions to the American Songbook.
Melanie's debut CD, Songs in Transit, features an eclectic selection of songs that are not merely classical, but a hybrid mixture of styles which includes jazz, blues, musical theater, popular music, rock, hip-hop, electronic and world music. All of it is woven into the complex tapestry that makes up “American” music. The disc highlights living American poets and composers, most of whom accompany their own songs at the piano. Among the composers are two Pulitzer Prize winners: David Del Tredici and Paul Moravec. Also featured are renowned composers Lee Hoiby, Tom Cipullo, and Lori Laitman, as well as an original song cycle by Mitrano. All but two songs on the disc are first-recordings.
With her unique, unusually expressive voice, Melanie remains a strong force in today’s new music scene. She has the distinction of being one of the few classical singer-composers who writes, performs and records her own music. In addition, her collaborations with some of the foremost American composers of the 20th and 21st centuries have yielded countless performances and garnered praise from critics and audiences alike. Known for her impeccable diction, chameleon-like versatility and extensive range, Melanie has equal prowess with standard classical and cross-over repertoire, which often spans both soprano and mezzo territory. The Boston Globe has described her as “remarkable for purity of tone" and "superbly equipped...aiming a beautiful voice under beautiful control at some terribly stiff musical demands, scoring bull's-eye after bull's-eye.”
Winner of the 2011 Summit City Art Song Festival Composition Award, Phobias & Infatuations is a genre-crossing song cycle for female voice and piano. These eight songs combine elements of classical art song, musical theater and jazz. The singer should move fluidly through these styles as required. An extensive vocal range is used (low A flat to high B natural), thus these songs are best sung by sopranos with solid chest registers or mezzos with easy upper extensions.
The songs may be sung as a complete, ordered cycle, or divided up in any way the singer chooses. The phobias are Prom Date, Dinnertime, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Bona Petite; while the infatuations include Your Joyful Voice, Time for Tea, Aries and Gemini, and Tether Your Sorrows.
With her original music and texts, the composer explores her fascination with intense love and intense fear, seemingly disparate emotions, both having the power to consume one wholly. From a performance standpoint, the juxtaposition of the two contradictory mental states is paramount. The infatuations create varied atmospheres of sheer ebullience, sexy languor, pure love and wistful yearning. These contrast sharply with the declamatory anxiety, biting sarcasm, and neurotic self-consciousness of the phobias.