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  • Jonathan Widran

MAYITA DINOS, The Garden Is My Stage

As her beautiful and inspiring story goes, Puerto Rican born (from Puerto Rican and Greek/Turkish heritage) Mayita Dinos was never one to seek the limelight – but her incredible dual talents as a veteran in-demand landscape designer and vocalist ensured her eventual emergence to center stage. Her success and symphonic attention to detail in her longtime chosen profession led her to become a landscape expert on shows on the HGTV and DIY networks.

After developing her jazz vocal chops at a weekly workshop hosted by the late pianist, composer and educator Howlett Smith, she began performing in her adopted hometown of L.A. and caught the attention of veteran recording artist and producer Cathy Segal-Garcia – who serves as executive producer of Mayita’s poetic and profound, swinging, exotic and deeply spiritual debut album The Garden is My Stage.

When Segal-Garcia brought guitarist Dori Amarillo on board to co-produce and arrange, the main discussions were about the singer’s vast array of influences – which she conveyed with the gorgeous painted illustrations which fill the CD package’s booklet. The generous 13-track collection is a showcase for her sensual, caressing and supple vocals, which draw us in with rich intimacy and dynamic flights of fancy as they adapt effortlessly to all the genres Mayita loves.

Developing her powerful autobiographical concept around her lifelong passion for nature, the outdoors and those precious green gardens, she romps gracefully from the edgy pop-rock of Joni Mitchell’s era-defining “Woodstock” and a breezy Brazilian adaptation of Charlie Parker’s bop classic “Ornithology” (featuring colorful airborne lyrics by Mayita) through the moody and lyrical Thelonious Monk gem “Panniocica,” Stevie Wonder’s gently whimsical horticultural adventure “Come Back as a Flower,” the trumpet-laced meditation on a rose in “Spanish Harlem” and the eternal gift of life shared via the gentle, flute and acoustic guitar driven Jobim classic “Agua de Beber.”

While Mayita also breathes fresh life into classics by Freddie Hubbard (“Little Sunflower”) and Billy Strayhorn (“A Flower is a Lovesome Thing”), perhaps the greatest revelation from this emerging artist is her starkly arranged, vocal and bass duet (with Gabe Davis) of “La Lola,” an original composition set to the elegant Spanish language words of 20th Century poet Federico Garcia Lorca. Also of note, the title of the album came from her Earth Day 2018 debut concert in the Pine Forest of the Arlington Garden in Pasadena, CA. The location is the crown jewel of her career as a landscape artist – the perfect springboard into her new, fascinating mode of artistic expression.


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