Connie Evingson: Let It Be Jazz: Connie Evingson Sings The Beatles (2003)
The songs that John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote and recorded with the Beatles in the 1960s have left lasting impressions on all of us. They are timeless anecdotes from an era of exploration and change. On Let It Be Jazz Connie Evingson places each of these familiar melodies into a mainstream jazz context with a natural feel and a seamless transition.
Based in Minneapolis and a veteran of four previous CD releases, Evingson possesses a clear alto vocal range with an easy-to-like lyric delivery. Vivid and accurate expression remains her greatest asset.
Along with pianist Mary Louise Knutson, she’s created jazz interpretations of these classic songs that settle the argument as to which era of popular music should remain a part of the jazz repertoire. Popular songs of the 1930s and 1940s fit just as well as these baby boomer pieces, and we agree that 21st century popular music has a place in jazz too. The answer is: jazz suits all good music, regardless of age or era.
Evingson and Knutson reshape the Lennon/McCartney program as blues, bossa nova, tango, reggae, Dixieland, and bebop. Scat singing gets interwoven with the acoustic sounds familiar to straight-ahead jazz. “Blackbird” includes the Beatles mysticism of an electric sitar, “Wait” recalls the sassy guitar style of Wes Montgomery, “Can’t Buy Me Love” recalls the romantic, nighttime appeal of Peggy Lee’s singing career, and “I’m Looking Through You” recalls the soulful sixties sound of Fender Rhodes and guitar in a combo format.
Considering the significant number of beautiful songs that John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote in collaboration, Evingson should pick up where this album leaves off with another collection arranged with jazz on the menu. The vast umbrella of jazz makes these things possible, and Evingson’s highly recommended album comes to us with welcome arms.
Track Listing: Blackbird; Wait; The Night Before; Can
Personnel: Connie Evingson- vocals; Mary Louise Knutson- piano, Fender Rhodes; Fulton Tashombe- piano; Terry Burns, Anthony Cox, Doug White- bass; Jay Epstein, Phil Hey, Marc Rio- drums; Dave Singley- guitar; Dean Magraw- guitar, electric sitar; Dave Karr- tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet; Kathy Jensen- tenor saxophone; Dave Jensen- flugelhorn; Mike Nelson- trombone; Daryl Boudreaux- percussion; Dan Chouinard- accordion.