Judy Wexler: Easy On The Heart (2005)
This is one special jazz vocal debut album from Los Angeles area-based Judy Wexler, based upon the musicians and recording studio. Thirteen well chosen tunes reflect a wide spectrum of popular music, and nary a one can be accused of being overexposed over the decades.
Judy Wexler displays a fine instinct with these tunes, whether from the Great American Songbook or recent compositions waiting to be placed in that category, as well as offerings from Lennon/McCartney and Bob Dylan. Wexler makes great work of the ballads, like Abbey Lincoln's "I'm In Love" and the delicious Berlin tune "I Got Lost In His Arms," as well as the title tune from Fisher and Segal. However, she can really swing up-tempo, as proven on Oscar Brown's tuneful "Humdrum Blues," featuring a Bob Sheppard bass clarinet solo; Sheppard then switches to tenor sax on Kern's "Nobody Else But Me." "Victor Young's "Beautiful Love," usually done as a ballad, appears here at mid-tempo with tasty piano work by Alan Pasqua. Also, the 1960s tune "Down Here On The Ground," lifted from the film Cool Hand Luke and now a jazz standard, is also taken in a mid-tempo groove and features a Steven Campos trumpet solo.
This album stands miles ahead in the proliferating femme jazz vocal field. I can only hope that it will find its way to the in-baskets of the various jazz radio programmers, and fast!
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Track Listing: Moment To Moment, I'm In Love, Humdrum Blues, Easy On The Heart, Nobody Else But Me, In My Life, Beautiful Love/Gorgeous Creature, Tell Him I Said Hello, Love Is A Necessary Evil, Don't Think Twice It's All Right, If You Could Love Me, Down Here On The Ground, I Got Lost In His Arms.
Personnel: Judy Wexler,vocals; Alan Pasqua, piano, arranger; Derek Oles, bass; Tim Pleasant, drums; Bob Sheppard, bass clarinet and saxophones; Steven Campos, trumpet, flugelhorn
Record Label: Jazzopolis Record Group