Jacintha: Jacintha Goes to Hollywood (2008)
When seeking jazz, Malaysia isn't likely to be on many people's lists of possible sources. Yet that is where vocalist Jacintha hails from.
Born Jacintha Abisheganaden in 1957, to a Chinese mother who sang and Sri Lankan father who played classical guitar, Jacintha got into music at an early age. Her experiences included periods with the Singapore Youth Choir as well as leading several solo albums. To date, she has recorded thirteen albums as a lead vocalist. Jacintha Goes to Hollywood presents fresh takes on nine songs from movies.
Jacintha delivers "On Days Like These," from The Italian Job (1969), in elegant style. With a saxophone solo by Ricky Woodard and arranger Iskander Ismail on piano, the vocalist is easygoing, but passionate in this lounge singer offering. Jacintha brings more of the same with "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head," from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), complemented by Larry Goldings on piano, a guitar solo by Anthony Wilson and skillful drum work by Joe LaBarbera. Jacintha's soft alto voice helps this track from being just another cover song.
The bossa nova arrangement of "Windmills of Your Mind," from The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), gets juiced up during the instrumental break. With Wilson and LaBarbera setting the pace, Ron Stout delivers a high-energy, muted trumpet solo not unlike Freddie Hubbard, before the song reverts to its primary rhythm. Goldings plays the Hammond B-3 organ on the subdued rendition of "California Dreaming." Goldings and Wilson have the solos.
Aaron Serfaty brings the congas for the charming "A Man and a Woman," a ballad from the 1966 French film of the same name. Jacintha captures the spirit of original, but adds her personal touch. Goldings, appropriately, brings the accordion for "Que Sera Sera," from The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956). Jacintha's cover isn't as lighthearted as the hit sung by Doris Day, but her tone does justice so that the words don't lose any of their positive meaning.
Overall, Jacintha Goes to Hollywood is a nice package of nicely performed songs. Though it doesn't really have any weak spots, the strong points aren't quite strong enough to make this a surefire hit. Still, it's difficultif not impossibleto dislike this music.
Track Listing: On Days Like These; Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head; Alfie; Windmills of Your Mind; California Dreaming; A Man and a Woman; Easy Living; Que Sera Sera; The Summer Knows.
Personnel: Jacintha: vocals; Iskander Ismail: piano; Larry Goldings: Hammond B-3, piano (2), accordion (8); Darek Oles: bass; Joe LaBarbera: drums; Anthony Wilson: guitar; Ron Stout: trumpet; Ricky Woodard: saxophone; Aaron Serfaty: percussion; John Campbell: vibraphone; Howlett Smith: whistler (1).