Jazz CD Reviews – early February 2016

February 1, 2016

Marlene VerPlanck The Mood I’m In (Audiophile ACD 348)

The past twenty-plus years has seen Marlene VerPlanck regularly visiting the UK, sometimes with side trips to Continental Europe. Only occasionally has she recorded while on these trips and that makes this new release even more of a delight. The regularity of these visits means that Marlene has built up good musical relationships with several key instrumentalists and during her 26th UK tour she went into the studio with the trio of pianist John Pearce, bassist Paul Morgan and drummer Bobby Worth.MVP Also making a most welcome contribution to five tracks is Mark Nightingale on trombone, and on four tracks Andy Panayi on tenor saxophone and flute. Marlene is fully supported by these fine instrumentalists, many of whom have solo moments that are taken with skill and ingenuity. As always, Marlene’s selection of songs is impeccable, drawing as she does not only from familiar materials but also from distant corners of the Great American Songbook as well as work by superior jazz artists. Among the chosen composers are Harry Warren and Ted Koehler, Me And The Blues, Warren and Mack Gordon,This Is Always, Burton Lane and Alan Jay Lerner, Too Late Now, Henry Mancini and Bobby Troup, Free And Easy, Benny Carter and Paul Vandervoort, My Kind Of Trouble Is You, and Duke Ellington, Johnny Hodges and Don George, It Shouldn’t Happen To A Dream. In all cases, Marlene’s innate skill and feeling for the heart of a song allow her to bring warmth and understanding to the often magical worlds created by the lyricists. The set also includes a two-song medley enjoyed by audiences on her tour with which she pays tribute to Frank Sinatra: It Started All Over Again, Carl Fischer and Bill Carey, and The Second Time Around, Jimmy VanHeusen and Sammy Cahn. If you, like me have long been an admirer of Marlene VerPlanck, you will be delighted to know that her vocal sound remains virtually unchanged and as always she has delivered glowing performances of some wonderful songs.

Lyn Stanley Interludes (A.T. Music 3104)

On another album reviewed here a few months ago Lyn Stanley chose her repertoire from songs composed in the 1950s. On this, her third album, Lyn has delved a little further back in time for many of her songs. Although some of these are familiar, they are given interpretations that render them new and fresh while remaining true to the original intentions of composers and lyricists. Among these songs are How Long Has This Been Going On, Just One Of Those Things, More Than You Know, Don’t Explain, In A Sentimental Mood, and Boulevard Of Broken Dreams.lyn stanley Lyn is joined here by two groups of accompanists. On four tracks are Mike Garson, piano, John Chiodani, guitar, Chuck Berghofer, bass, and Paul Kreibich, drums. One nine the core quartet has Bill Cunliffe on piano and Ray Brinker on drums, replacing Garson and Kreibich, with additional instrumentalists appearing on some tracks: Bob McChesney, trombone, Henrick Muerkens, harmonica, Cecilia Tsan, cello, and Brad Dutz, percussion. One track, I’m A Fool To Want You, is just Lyn with John Chiodani’s guitar. Throughout this album, Lyn Stanley sings with flair and understanding and the result is a delight.

Wendy Pedersen & Jim Gasior We Two (Jimmy G’s House of Sound)

Long established in Florida, Wendy Pedersen may be less well known elsewhere in America; if this should be so then surely this must change. On this new set, Wendy sings in duo with pianist Jim Gasior, the two having worked together successfully for several years although I understand that this is their first joint release. Pleasingly blending cabaret with touches of jazz, they present an admirable selection of songs that are chosen and performed with loving care.pedersen Among these are some from the Great American Songbook, Exactly Like You, The Best Thing For You, some from the world of jazz, Everything But You, Jitterbug Waltz, ‛Round Midnight, and others from Broadway, It Ain’t Necessarily So, My Favorite Things. Their obvious shared love for the songs they perform allow Wendy and Jim to respectfully take a few liberties here and there, giving Oh, What A Beautiful Morning a touch of Deep South churchgoing music, The Best Thing For You is taken at a faster tempo than is usually heard, and My Favorite Things is rendered in an unusual time signature. Wendy’s voice is rich, her diction clear, and everywhere she displays her understanding of the lyrics of the songs she sings. Jim’s work here is much more than that of accompanist, he is a collaborator, providing appropriate cushioning to the vocal lines and soloing with imaginative verve. Together they make a thoroughly entertaining duo and this album is warmly recommended.

You will find much more to entertain and inform you on these sites:-

Vintage BandstandJazz FlashesJazz Wax

And Amazon is the place to go for these albums.

Jazz CD Reviews – early January 2015

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.lyn stanley 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.ellen lafurn 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.julie lyon 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).copa village 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.

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