Janis Siegel: The Tender Trap (1999)
Not to be confused with lounge singer Janet Seidel, Janis Siegel has framed her volume of the Great American Songbook as an "unabridged" pulp novel. Unfortunately, some of it should have been abridged. The album opens with an over-faded version of "Old Black Magic," skims along the musical waves of "My Ship," gets caught in the title track and then tries a change with a frilly and trilly "Change Partners." However, it is not until the misogynistic blues of "I Just Want To Make Love To You" that the story really picks up. Though Siegel admits to having "no clue how it would turn out," this Willie Dixon cover is one of the album’s strongest pieces. After getting down n’ dirty, Siegel’s lighter fare gains contrast and the album gains interest.
Though the tepid "Too Darn Hot" is again too darn long, her maternal tribute of "How Deep Is The Ocean?" dives back into real feeling. Siegel’s "Dreamsville" duet with guitarist Russell Malone is gentle and harmonic-ous and her query into "How Long Has This Been Going On" elicits a "little wow" indeed. The lighthearted ultimatum of "Tulip or Turnip" and the two-tune/two-tone theme of "the Strayhorn/Mercer combo "All Roads Lead Back To You/I Thought About You" finish the set with a represetnative setof contrasts. Though it may take a few chapters to come to appreciate noteworthy characters like Michael Brecker and Hank Crawford, their story ends well and is worth a read or two.
Track Listing: 1. That Old Black Magic 2. My Ship 3. (Love Is) The Tender Trap 4. Change Partners 5. I Just Want to Make Love to You 6. Too Darn Hot 7. How Deep Is the Ocean? 8. Dreamsville 9. Touch of Your Lips 10. You Bring Out the Lover in Me 11. How Long Has This Been Going On? 12. Tulip or Turnip 13. All Roads Lead Back to You/I Thought About You