For eminently versatile, warmly soulful veteran jazz singer Dan Olivo, a great advantage of being one of Southern California’s busiest high end hotel, resort, lounge and club singers is the opportunity to gather a cadre of the region’s top session and touring musicians to create his long awaited debut album Day By Day – a stunning, sometimes intimate, often playfully swinging and coolly bluesy crooner’s paradise.
Leading us on a dynamic emotional sojourn from the feisty hipster classic rock/blues of Fats Dominos’ “I’m Walkin’” to the subtle intimacies of “All the Way,” Olivo’s rangy voice is one of those timeless “he can sing the phone book” goes down easy natural instruments that breezes along and envelops the listener. The key to making a great album with that is the choice of material and arrangements, and to create that surrounding magic, he has his longtime friend (from high school) and bandleader, masterful guitarist Ian Robbins.
As producer, musical director and arranger of the eclectic 12 track project, Robbins creates a snazzy, high energy big band atmosphere with a core band (featuring himself, drummer/percussionist Kevin Winard and the brilliant pianist/Hammond B-3 organ great Joe Bagg) and a three part horn section of saxophonist Kyle O’Donnell, trombonist Garrett Smith and trumpeter Jamelle Adisa. Material-wise, Olivo and Robbins run the gamut from 20’s standards (the percussive lament “How Come You Do Me Like You Do?”, a light romp through “It Had To Be You”) to Great American Songbook era classics (the snappy, ultra-cool opener “Day By Day,” a brisk and boisterous “Time After Time”), 60’s pop gems (Nat King Cole’s “L.O.V.E.” and the Herb Alpert popularized “This Guy’s In Love With You”) and a lesser known song by one of Olivo’s idols, Harry Connick Jr. (the laid back turned wildly grooving “Come By Me”).
The most imaginatively conceived tune is “It’s Only A Paper Moon,” which begins as an old-timey duet with Renee Myara Cibelli of the group Black Market Reverie (with Robbins’ sweet strum) before easing into a whimsical spin highlighting the magical harmonies of the duo and bassist/vocalist Lyman Medeiros (also of Black Market Reverie).
For those who have yet to see Olivo strut his stuff in person, Day By Day is a wonderful introduction – and hopefully just the beginning of a long, fruitful and adventurous recording career!