Carmela Rappazzo ~ Mercury in Retrograde
Carmela grew up in upstate New York learning the Great American Songbooks at an early age, as her father was a big band swing coronet player and the large Sicilian family gatherings always included live music. She got involved in musical theater in high school but was enthralled by jazz. She moved to Boston in her late teens hanging out in Paul’s Mall and the Jazz Workshop listening to the greats play live and sitting in as a singer with friends who were attending Berkley. Arriving back in New York City she attended ‘Theatrium’ (a Strasberg Institute training) and became involved in off-off broadway theater and appeared in a few independent films, later training with Eric Morris. Carmela moved to Los Angeles in ‘92 , working in the L. A. Theater scene and on several feature films with such notable film directors as Rob Reiner, Wolfgang Petersen, Jonathan Lynn and Ken Kwapis. She continued her vocal training with Dan Balestrero. She began to perform in the L. A. Jazz scene with the Jon Mayer trio and recorded her first record ‘Black and White’ , a straight ahead standards record with them.
After appearing in many of the local clubs she began to branch out and work with established musicians recording her second cd with Paul Smith, Jim DeJulio and Joe LaBarbera. This cd ‘Regarding Frank’ was a tribute record to Sinatra and his 50’s Capitol years. Shortly after this she formed her own trio which featured guitarist/ song writer Hirth Martinez. Out of this trio ‘The Girl Who Dreams Out Loud’ was conceived. This cd was a departure from covering familiar jazz standards, into a new exploration of original materials by such notables as Hirth Martinez, Donald Fagen, Mike Melvoin and Carmela. Her latest cd, “Joseph City”, combines straight ahead covers, with some very unique standard arrangements and some originals by Carmela. For this project Carmela worked with Pete Snell, Armando Compean and Lee Spath, and featured on this cd is tango master Coco Trivisonno on bandoneon, cellist Chase Morrison and horn players Steve Marsh and John Fumo, with Stu Elster on Hammond B3 and Scott Breadman on percussion.