Marlene and Billy Ver Planck: Speaking of Love (2002)
Since 1955, Marlene Ver Planck has been turning out impeccably crafted albums built on gems culled from the mines of those endearing songs from the American pop culture as well as some off beat pieces, but gems also. This latest endeavor is one of the outputs from Ver Planck's annual trek to London where she works with the Roy Babbington Trio. An extra added attraction this time around are tracks which has Marlene backed by a big band whose chairs are filled with some of the UK's top sidemen and conducted by husband J. Billy. The large aggregation is used in one of the CD's most enjoyable cuts, a sterling arrangement of "But not for Me", where the singer kicks off the tune with the sole backing of Babbington doing his thing on bass before the rest of the group kicks in changing the tempo entirely from a ballad setting to a rousing swinger. Among other things, the track shows off Ver Planck's flawless technique. Perfect pitch, matchless phrasing, clear unmuddled diction which allows the audience to really hear the words the lyricist wrote for the music, all of which make her one of the foremost interpreters of American standards and traditional pop material. Ver Planck also demonstrates that she can move out of that sweet, sedate, romantic mode and become as wild and energetic scat with a killer diller rendition of "Jamaica Rhumba". The bittersweet icing on the cake for this outstanding album of good music is the final appearance of jazz piano icon, Tommy Flanagan, backing the singer on his own "My Bluebird", a telling coda to a peerless jazz career as another great one goes on to better things.
Respected and known by her fellow musicians as a versatile singer with a gorgeous, pliable voice that knows how to tell a story, this latest release for Audiophile does nothing but reinforce that reputation. Another factor that favors this CD is the abundance of music it offers the listener, more than 72 minutes with 20 tunes. Visit the doyenne of song's web home at www.marleneverplanck.com .
Track Listing: But Not for Me; Blues in My Heart; It Was Written in the Stars; What Comes After the Rainbow?; I Let a Song Go out of My Heart; Listen to the Silence; Jamaica Rumba; Romance Medley : I'll Take Romance, My Romance, Isn't It Romantic?; The Moment of Truth; A Christmas Love Song; What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?; Little Jazz Bird; Day - Dream; Nearer to Your Love; Unless It's You; My Love Went to London; Make Some Magic; The Singer; Speaking of Love; My Bluebird*.
Personnel: Marlene Ver Planck - Vocals; J. Billy Ver Planck - Arranger/Conductor; Geoff Eales, Tommy Flanagan* - Piano; Roy Babbington - Bass; Mark Fletcher - drums; Mark White, John Ruddick, Brian Rankine, Paul Eshelby - Trumpet; Gordon Campbell, Mark Nightengale; Andy Wood, John Higginbotham - Trombone; Andy Macintosh, Roy Wilcox, Vic Ash, Martin Williams, Alan Barnes - Sax; Clive Dunstall - Synthesizer