How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
What stands out on Don't Make Me Laugh is the vibrancy with which Janelle Sadler swings and scats with fluid ease. Articulate and instantly communicative, she's a singer who relates to a broad audience. Jazz and popular music hold hands together on this recommended album.
Like a family that hangs out together seven nights a week, Sadler's ensemble supports her with intuitive refrains. Even Jimi Hendrix's "Manic Depression" comes together with a pert and saucy texture. Here, she prefers an organ combo mood that lets the music flow like a healing salve. Robin Swenson, her husband and musical director, ensures that every tune rocks with fiery passion.
Sadler's hearty alto voice lets her interpret with feelings alive. She's convincing. As a backup singer for Donny Osmond, Natalie Cole, Deneice Williams, and The Mamas and the Papas, she's demonstrated this warmth time and again. Now, it's her showcase, and what a pleasure the session delivers.
"Don't Make Me Laugh" simmers with the inner emotions of a ballad conceived in a moment of passion. Sadler brings the song out and pours the feeling onto her audience. These invisible emotional twinges expand far and wide. Mose Allison's "If You Live" and Swenson's "The Wagon" bring out the best qualities from all, as Sadler and her piano trio express with the deep feeling found in the blues. It will put a smile on your face. Don't miss it.