Vocalist Zan Gardner was tragically killed in an accident on May 1, 2007, just one day before her 59th birthday. Listening to Here's My Heart
after so many months now is a weird but transcendent experience. After having heard her rendition of the classic "As Times Goes By" back when the album was just released, her version came to mind each time I heard someone else sing it, whether on the radio, in a television show or in a movie. Hers was just something else.
She's also clearly providing room for dialogue, because her excellent band does not merely offer the usual when backing up a singer. What the listener will discover, is a talkative balance between the various instruments and Gardner's vocal qualities. There's something in her voice that makes you wonder about what it is that we enjoy when someone obviously pours her heart out in every breath, phrase and pause. We experience the pain, the loss, the doubt and despair she so deeply seemed able to catch in just a single note. There are nine tracks on this album, all familiar tunes but Zanned to the core of their soul. All but one, "Metaphoric Heartbreak," a song written by Gardner herself.
Now that she's crossed the waters and disappeared in the Mists of Avalon, it's this particular track that might behold the essence of her artistry and craft. It's haunting, but perfect. Which leaves Here's My Heart as a compelling and moving manifest of true emotions, evoking a cascade of feelings ranging from sadness to genuine admiration for Gardner's talents. A legacy to embrace warmly.
Personnel: Zan Gardner: vocals; Dave Posmontier: piano; John Swana: trumpet, flugelhorn, evi; Chico Huff: basses; Steve Holloway: drums, percussion; Tony Micelli: vibraphone.