Liner Notes by Lewis Nash: If one desires to grow and develop playing music, then he or she must (in addition to studying and practicing) make time to observe with regularity those who play music on a high level. As a musician on the New York scene for the past 30 years, I've observed those who show up often at clubs and venues to support and encourage fellow musicians, or to watch and learn from the masters. During the past several years, vocalist Marianne Solivan has been one of those musicians whom I've repeatedly noticed in the audiences for a wide variety of different musical situations. This convinced me of her commitment to the music and her desire to deepen her understanding of it. I've heard her perform and I've had the pleasure of performing with her, so when the opportunity arose to write liner notes for her upcoming recording, I was happy to do so. Passion, sincerity, energy, originality, courage, joy ... these words all came to mind as I listened to the wonderfully engaging music on Spark, Marianne's second release for Hipnotic Records. Self produced by Solivan, she clearly gave careful consideration to the musical territory she wanted to explore and the musicians she wanted to accompany her on this journey. The stellar trio of Xavier Davis (piano), Mathew Parrish (bass) and Gregory Hutchinson (drums) are beautifully engaged and supportive throughout the entire session. Solivan chose material well suited for her distinctive voice. As she freely interprets lyrics and melodies, nothing seems pushed or forced, and her sense of phrasing flows naturally and gracefully. A highlight of this disc is the inclusion of several songs composed by Solivan. Her original music - "Spark", "On A Clear Night", "First Desire" (a poem by Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca that Solivan wrote music for), "If I Were To Love You" and the exquisite "The Dove" (one of my favorites and a collaborative effort with music by pianist Xavier Davis and lyrics by Solivan) - provides a springboard from which Solivan weaves words into stories and engages in skillful musical interplay with this creative trio of musicians. Solivan shows that she can swing ("I Wanna Be Around", "This Is New", "Ooh What Cha' Doin' To Me") that she can deliver a soulful and heartfelt interpretation of bluesy material (Oscar Brown Jr.'s "Hum Drum Blues" and "Tender As A Rose") and that she knows how to take her time and patiently explore the nuances of a beautiful ballad ("Lies of Handsome Men" and "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?"). As a pleasant surprise, Marianne even demonstrates her comfort and command singing in Spanish on the Ruben Blades penned "El Cantante". Spark is a strong statement by Marianne Solivan, one of today's most talented musical voices. This is a recording which will pass the test of repeated listening with flying colors, and one of which she should be extremely proud.