Jazz CD Reviews – August 2014

August 4, 2014

Tina May My Kinda Love (Hep CD 2101)

Invariably excellent,Tina May brings warmth, understanding and superb musicianship to all that she does. On earlier CDs, such as I’ll Take Romance (Linn AKD 202) and More Than You Know (33 Jazz 100), she performed some fine songs accompanied by exceptional musicians, including Scott Hamilton, Nikki Iles and Tony Coe. This new release is similarly blessed with lovely songs, among them gorgeous interpretations of Lazy Afternoon, Haunted Heart, An Occasional Man, and Manhattan In The Rain. The accompanying instrumentalists are also front-rank and there are fine solos from Janusz Carmello (t), Freddie Gavita (flh), Nicol Thomson (tb), Freddy Mayne (as) and Frank Griffith (ts, cl), the latter also providing many of the arrangements. tina mayAs you will recognize, one of the songs mentioned, Manhattan In The Rain, is composed by Duncan Lamont, who also composed Where Were You In April, on which he plays tenor (a special delight for UK fans with long memories). Tina’s vocal sound is warmly mature and she responds to the surroundings, being cushioned by an outstanding rhythm section: John Pearce (p), Ian Laws (g), Dave Green (b) and Winston Clifford (d). John Jensson is another arranger for the date and makes a telling impression with Lazy Afternoon. The Bowfiddle String Quartet (led by Laura Rose) is also on hand for some tracks and helps broaden the palette from which the arrangers create memorable backgrounds  for Tina’s unforgettable pictures.

Lisa Thorson Live (own label unnumbered)

Too much time has passed since Lisa Thorson’s last release. That was Out To Sea (Ellen Robin Music 103), for which I had the privilege of writing the liner notes. On that set Lisa was accompanied only by pianist Cho Yoon Seung, a student at Berklee College of Music where she teaches, and it dates back to 2003. On this new album, Lisa is joined by a trio with whom she has worked for two decades: Tim Ray (p); David Clark (b); George Schuller (d). Recorded live at Boston’s Scullers Jazz Club, the musicians bring vivid life to an eclectic repertoire, including Charlie Parker’s Blues For Alice and Duke Ellington’s Mood Indigo as well as some standards and a couple of Latin pieces. lisa-liveLisa’s warm voice and her superb musicianship ensures that all the songs are presented most attractively. Always engaging, Lisa blends with the instrumentalists with deceptively effortless ease. The long gap between releases (eleven years is far too long) surely means that this CD will be eagerly sought out by lovers of good music well sung. Wheelchair-bound since 1979, Lisa has won many awards for her work on behalf of the disabled. This, added to her teaching, makes her absence from record completely understandable – but it doesn’t make it any less regrettable.

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