Jazz CD Reviews – mid-November 2015

November 18, 2015

Karrin Allyson Many A New Day (Motema 234083)

Over the past few years Karrin Allyson’s all-too-few albums have brought unalloyed pleasure. This, her latest, might well be her best. The material, while familiar, is far from overdone in the jazz world and this might be explained by the subtitle: Karrin Allyson Sings Rodgers & Hammerstein. karrinAlthough Richard Rodgers’ partnership with Lorenz Hart has long been a gold mine for jazz singers and instrumentalists, his later collaboration with Oscar Hammerstein Jr has been much less explored. Any real or imagined problems there might be with the material dissolve as Karrin sings these memorable melodies and often insightful words. The arrangements, by Michael Leonhart and Karrin, never lose the inherent melodic qualities of the songs, although they sometimes take these in surprising but always interesting and musically satisfactory directions. Karrin’s voice is true and quite lovely, revealing maturity, intelligence and charm. Her interpretation of lyrics is faultless and she reaches the heart of the songs with extraordinary sensitivity. This last quality means that even when some careful liberties are taken with tempi the obvious love she has for this material ensures that the result is always pleasing. Karrin’s accompanists here are pianist Kenny Barron and bassist John Patitucci and their work is perfectly attuned to the needs of the singer, Kenny having most solo opportunities, all of which he takes with his customary élan. Among the songs performed here are Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’, Bali Ha’i, We Kiss In The Shadow, Something Good (a song for which Rodgers also wrote the lyrics), Out Of My Dreams, and Something Wonderful. This is a beautifully performed album of lovely music that has already lasted a lifetime and with recordings like this might very well last forever.

Kim Nazarian Some Morning (KIMJ Music)

A delightful set by Kim Nazarian, here stepping out of the esteemed vocal group, New York Voices, but staying close to two other musical families. One of these is her personal family: husband Jay Ashby plays trombone on several tracks, among them Robbin’s Nest and What’ll I Do?, son Ian sings on Que Sera, Sera on which Kim’s father, Greg, plays saxophone, and brother-in-law Marty Ashby plays guitar on Robbin’s Nest, Tell Him I Said Hello and So In Love.kim naz Kim’s other family comprises the musicians joining her on this celebration of song. Invidious, I know, but only some are mentioned here: pianists Mark Soskin and Mark Shilansky, bassists Dwayne Dolphin and Leo Traversa, drummer Jamey Haddad, as well as guests who include clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera (Tell Him I Said Hello), trumpeter Sean Jones (Road To Kursk, a Jay Ashby chart on which drummer Roger Humphries is also featured), guitarist John Pizzarelli (Gotta Be This Or That on which he also sings), and vibraphonist Gary Burton (Some Morning). All of these instrumentalists are in cracking form, providing excellent accompaniment, driving ensembles and sparkling solos. Kim’s vocal sound, full, rich, wide ranging, always melodious, brings out every nuance in the compositions, while her interpretations of the lyrics are miniature masterclasses. A thoroughly enjoyable exploration of attractive material by an exceptional singer.

Lynda Reed Our Tree (indepenent)

A fine singer with a growing reputation on the east and west coasts, here Lynda Reed presents an admirable selection of songs, most of them only rarely heard. Lynda’s vocal style is softly engaging and her interpretation of lyrics shows care and understanding. Her principal accompanists are Frank Zottoli, keyboards, Abraham Laboriel, bass, Roberto Montero, guitar, and Enzo Todesco, drums, who are joined on some songs by Justo Almario (saxophones/flute), Rique Pantoja (keyboard), Dave Compton (harmonica), Edgar Sandavol (violin) and additional percussionists (Léo Costa, Munyungo Jackson, Joe Fabio, Abe Laboriel Jr).lynda Among the songs are Loving You (composed by Montero, lyrics by Reed), Fiesta Lynda (Laboriel, Reed), Our Tree/Tronco Do Jequitibá (Montero, Reed), Remembering and Zoe’s Lullaby (both Zottoli, Reed), and Masterpiece (Thomas Bähler). There are also some more widely known songs: Another Star, Blackbird, In Walked Bud. From what is heard (and also written by Lynda in her accompanying notes) all of these songs have a considerable measure of meaning for her. This particular quality is apparent throughout the set as emotional depths revealed both by the lyrics and the limpid melodies and sensuous rhythms of Latin American music that underlie everything. Both singer and instrumentalists bring to the occasion an air of gentleness and love, ensuring that the listener, too, is drawn into the moment. Songs from this album can be found on YouTube.

These CDs can be found at the singers’ sites (click on the links shown above), and at Amazon among on-line stores.

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