Happy, Sad and Satisfied
is the very nice second album by Swiss-born and New York-based singer Beat Kaestli, who boasts a pleasant tenor voice, impeccable diction and pitch, and a real rhythmic flair.
His arrangements are also very impressive. "Summertime" is presented starkly, with with only congas and Fender Rhodes accompaniment. Starting very slowly, Kaestli and company unexpectedly go into double time at the end. An up-tempo "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To" features a harmonically adventurous tenor sax solo, but the liner notes do not indicate whether it was by Joel Frahm or Lance Murphy. The high point of the album is "Autumn Leaves," which Kaestli performs in both French and English. Rather than scatting a lot, Kaestli does very interesting things harmonically with the melody.
Another very unique arrangement is Kaestli's funkified version of "My Funny Valentine," which features the Til Brooner-ish muted trumpet obbligato of Kenny Rampton and the organ of Ben Stivers. But the most unusual of all is the jazz version of "Dido's Lament" ("When I am Laid in Earth") from Henry Purcell's opera Dido and Aeneas, a work that was composed in the last decade of the 17th Century. This aria is in the form of a chaconne, which features a repeating bass pattern. It was a topos of 17th Century operatic practices that in a lament, this bass pattern would typically be a descending fourth by half steps. And as the Swingle Singers showed us in the 1950s and 1960s, baroque music can be extremely adaptable to jazz.
Beat Kaestli is an extremely talented and adventurous jazz singer whio has a great future ahead of him. Happy, Sad and Satisfied will leave you very happy, not sad at all, and very satisfied.
Personnel: Beat Kaetli: voice; Ben Stivers: piano, Rhodes, organ; Marcus McLaurine: bass; Steve Doyle:
bass; Jochen Rueckert: drums; Andres Patrick Forero: percussion; Kenny Rampton: trumpet,
flugelhorn; Joel Frahm: tenor saxophone; Lance Murphy: tenor saxophone