She's come a long, long way from the time she set commercials on end by singing those three words which set the jingle world on its ear, "mmm-mmm-good", kicking off a commercial idolization of Campbell's Soups. My Impetuous Heart, her 16th album and first for DRG, makes manifest that the voice is as light, as lilting, as clear and as entertaining as ever was. The Hank Jones Trio provides the bulk of Ver Planck's backing. Jones, along with Tommy Flanagan, Jimmy Rowles and Arnold Ross, is among the upper echelon of singer accompanists. Guest appearances by George Shearing and Marian McPartland add to the pleasure of this album. Guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli also is a visitor on a couple of the cuts. The play list is an entertaining mingling of standards and some not so often performed compositions, all of which Ver Planck handles with skill and aplomb.
Ver Planck has an extraordinary sense of timing and phrasing. Listen to her with Jones on the "Friends" medley, "Can't We Be Friends" and "Just Friends", with small pauses between phrases creating an in anticipation for the next line. Ver Planck can be bouncy - -Call Me Irresponsible, where Jones gets some solo time" , soulful- -"Fools Fall in Love", "You're Getting to Be a Habit with Me", and poignant - - "You Must Believe in Spring." Ver Planck doesn't scat - at least not very much - but engages in sophisticated cooing and humming on "..Irresponsible" and on the introduction to Mal Waldron's "Soul Eyes". Pizzarelli's guitar does yeoman, melodic, but unobtrusive work in support as Ver Planck caresses the haunting lyrics to this song penned by under valued vocalist, Bev Kelly. Excellent playing by Jones' regular bassist, Gary Mazzaroppi, takes center stage as he weaves in and out with Ver Planck on "Travelin' Light".
As advertised, the play list also includes some unfamiliar, but eminently hearable material. Marian McPartland joins with Ver Planck on McPartland's wistful "Willow Creek" Bob Dorough, whose songs are appearing on recent releases with increasing regularity, is represented by his "There's Never Been a Day". And, of course, there's the title tune "My Impetuous Heart" co-composed by Marlene's husband Billy Ver Planck, which sets the theme for the remainder of the set. My Impetuous Heart is a very enjoyable album. Visit Marlene's web page at www.marleneverplanck.com.