Jazz CD Reviews – late January 2018

January 31, 2018

As Is (Alan & Stacey Schulman) Here’s To Life (independent)

At the heart of this exceptional album are singer Stacey Schulman and guitarist Alan Schulman. Although both of these artists have been active in the music business for many years, their names have only recently become known to audiences. Alan has played as a sideman with many noted jazz artists, while Stacey’s voice has been heard often if anonymously through her work as a session singer and in commercials and on soundtracks. Despite having been around for more than two decades, Stacey’s singing voice, fresh and vibrant, casts a youthfully optimistic glow on the songs she sings, while bringing mature understanding to her interpretation of the lyrics. Most of the songs chosen for this, their second album, are well known but are far from being overdone. Stylistically, Stacey and Alan touch on jazz, bossa nova and purest balladry. as is cdIn all cases, they find new ways to approach the songs, ways that preserve the origins yet make out of them very personal statements. The musicians joining Alan and Stacey here include drummer Marcus Baylor, bassists Rashaan Carter, Matt Geraghty and Kevin Powe, Jr., and percussionist Alejandro Lubini. Among the songs are Buddy Johnson’s Save Your Love For Me, featuring alto saxophonist David Binney, Barry Manilow and Johnny Mercer’s When October Goes, Stevie Wonder’s Overjoyed, Ann Ronnell’s Willow Weep For Me, featuring harmonica player Grégoire Maret, Dizzy Gillespie’s A Night In Tunisia, and Phyllis Molinary and Artie Butler’s Here’s To Love. There is not a weak track here while some are outstanding (notably, for me, Willow Weep For Me and When October Goes).

For more on Alan & Stacey Schulman, including booking, contact Mouthpiece Music.

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