January 10, 2015
This is becoming almost a mantra but once again I find myself listening to singers all of whom are new to me. On this occasion, there are four singers and I will take them in the order in which they came out of the package.
Lyn Stanley Potions from the 50s (A.T. Music 3103)
For this album, Lyn Stanley has chosen her repertoire from songs composed in the 1950s thus reminding her listeners that skilful songwriters did not vanish when the previous two golden decades ended. Among the songs, many of which are given interesting and agreeable new readings, are Cry Me A River, Fly Me To The Moon, In The Still Of The Night, Misty, and The Party’s Over. This is Lyn’s second album and she has a mature vocal sound, crystal clear diction that is abetted by her occasionally clipped delivery, and an obvious affection for the lyrics. This audible love for her material is nevertheless sufficiently relaxed to allow her to make the songs accessible to present-day ears – the songs were, after all, written more than a half-century ago. Lyn is accompanied here by several musicians in different small groups; too many to list but the pianists heard are Bill Cunliffe (5 tracks), Mike Lang (2 tracks), and Kenny Werner (7 tracks), with Mike and Kenny both playing on A Summer Place. The set ends with The Man I Love, which comes of course from an earlier time. This is a delightful set that should appeal to many, be they jazz fans or aficionados of the Great American Songbook.
Ellen LaFurn C’Est La-Furn (Invite Records 1003)
Perhaps I might be forgiven for this singer being new to me because this is Ellen LaFurn‘s debut album although she is far from being a newcomer to the music scene. Ellen worked in music as a teenager, singing backup and singing and playing flute in several bands, which is where she met her late husband, trumpet player Gerry LaFurn, who was co-leader with Charlie Persip of Superband. She then raised her family, taught for some years and now, after retiring, has returned to her first love – music. Ellen has an expressive sound and good diction that helps in her understanding interpretations of lyrics. The songs she has chosen come mostly from that same endless and enduring Songbook, mingled with some that have become known for their performance in a jazz context. Among the songs heard here are I Remember You, I’ve Got The World On A String, Cherokee, Girl Talk, Watch What Happens, and I’m Old Fashioned. Accompanied by Rave Tesar, piano, Vic Cenicola, guitar, both well-featured in solos, Ron Naspo, bass, and Patrick Cuttitta, drums, Ellen delivers pleasing performances that many will enjoy.
Julie Lyon Julie (Unseen Rain UR 9957)
This is another debut album, this time bringing to wide attention singer Julie Lyon who leads her New York Quartet through a selection of songs, mostly familiar, that display her rhythmic ease and intelligent interpretations. Among the songs performed here are Love For Sale, Dr Lonnie Smith’s Too Damn Hot, for which Julie has provided lyrics, Bye Bye Blackbird, Strollin’, Dindi and Comes Love. Julie is ably backed by her quartet: Matt Lavelle, trumpet, Jack DeSalvo, guitar, Bobby Brennan, bass, and Tom Cabrera, drums. The songs are performed in a manner that melds contemporary expectations with the older traditions from which jazz came. Julie’s accompanists provide a suitable backdrop for her and there are some well-taken solo moments from Matt Lavelle both on trumpet and on a breathily played alto clarinet. Most notable among the instrumental soloists is Jack DeSalvo who plays guitar and mandola with inventive flair. The set is rhythmically underpinned by Brennan and Cabrera, the latter providing many ear-catching moments, such as his imaginative introduction to All Or Nothing At All.
Carol Saboya/Antonio Adolfo/Hendrik Muerkens Copa Village (Antonio Adolfo Music AAM 0707)
Very well known in Brazil, her homeland, Carol Saboya brings a wholly delightful atmosphere to this album on which she is teamed with her father, pianist Antonio Adolfo, and Hendrik Muerkens, who here plays harmonica and vibraphone. Antonio is a veteran of the Brazilian and New York jazz scenes and blends the two dissimilar yet matching forms expertly as performer and composer, the latter musical skill shown here with Visão (Vision) and Pretty World, with lyricist Tiberio Gaspar (the latter song also with English lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman). He also co-composed Copa Village, with Hendrik, who himself composed Como Se Fosse (As If It Was) and Nosso Mundo (Our World), both with lyricist Ana Terra, and Show De Bola (Awesome), with lyrics by Paulo Sergio Valle. The other songs, perhaps rather better known to the wider audience, are compositions by Antonio Carlos Jobim with lyricists Vinicíus De Moraes, Norman Gimbel, Jararaco, and Chico Buarque; these include The Girl From Ipanema, Agua De Beber, and Two Kites. Both Antonio and Hendrik support the singer superbly and take several good solos throughout this set. The Brazilian atmosphere is ably evoked through lilting rhythms underpinned by guitarist Claudio Spiewak, bassist Itaiguara Brandão, drummer Adriano Santos, and percussionist André Siqueira. All instrumentalists provide an ideal backdrop for Carol’s singing and the album is a thoroughly entertaining collection of evocative music.
As usual, these albums are available from Amazon.
Booking information for all these artists from Jim Eigo’s Jazz Promo Services.