Kevyn Lettau: Bye Bye Blackbird (2005)
With strings and the gentle acoustic guitar of Dori Caymmi, singer Kevyn Lettau interprets favorite songs for a standards album that's been a long time coming. She first recorded with Caymmi in 1988, before her eight-year stint with Sergio Mendes took her on a whirlwind adventure that colored her life's work with a Brazilian tinge.
Possessing a smooth soprano voice that lends itself to romantic interpretation, Lettau gives her audience an armful of class. Songs by Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, Cy Coleman, and Harold Arlen bring her timeless message to a wide audience. Special circumstances, such as "Bye Bye Blackbird" and "Being Green," give the album a heart-melting quality.
The singer is at her best with a suave bossa nova or a sentimental ballad. Caymmi's musical arrangements ensure that she's given appropriate surroundings to color each of these pleasant melodies. Rhythm and harmony add a bit of depth, but it's the melody that comes at you full force as Lettau sends her message out clearly. Wordless melodies alternate with sensual lyrics to fit each concern.
At times she turns the music inwardly and projects her voice less forcefully, resulting in an uneven session. Rubato passages, such as the intro to "Let's Fall in Love," leave the listener in a vacuum, wondering where all the stars have gone. Each piece picks up, however, as Lettau steers her vocal message comfortably with passion and with genuine interest. Like the smooth sensations that she delivered with Sergio Mendes, each of these lovely standards slips gently into our lives.
Track Listing: I've Got You Under My Skin; Bye Bye Blackbird; I Fall in Love Too Easily; Love You Madly; It Amazes Me; I Concentrate on You; It's Delovely; Being Green; Let's Fall in Love; Gone With the Wind; Sophisticated Lady.
Personnel: Kevyn Lettau: vocal; Dori Caymmi: acoustic guitar; Russell Ferrante: piano, electric piano; Jerry Watts, Jr.: electric bass; Mike Shapiro: drums; Paulinho da Costa: percussion; Larry Goldings: melodica on "Being Green;" Gina Kronstadt: concertmaster, violin; Peter Kent, Armen Garabedian, Berj Garabedian, Kathleen Robertson, Vladimir Polimatidi, Norm Hughs, Shari Zippert, Pam Gates, Adriana Zoppo, Cameron Patrick, Kristen Fife: violin; Bob Becker, Miriam Meyer, Novi Novog, Lynn Grants: viola; Larry Corbett, Stafanie Fife, Maurice Grants, Rudolph Stein: cello.