Jane Scheckter: Easy To Remember (2012)
Music from The Great American Songbook is getting quite a workout these days, with more musicians and singers spinning their renditions of old standards and classics than ever before. On the stellar Easy To Remember, jazz-cabaret singer Jane Scheckter taps into the well, lending her interpretations to songs from this repertoire with an all-star cast of players. This is the fourth album for the veteran vocalist using a standard trio format. Pianist/arranger Ted Firth and bassist extraordinaire Jay Leonhart, who both appeared with Scheckter on In Times Like These (Doxie, 2003), return for this follow-up engagement, with drummer Peter Grant rounding out the core band.
There is plenty of good music to enjoy on this 17-song release, and while the trio provides the main instrumental support, the personnel is expanded to add jazz luminaries such as guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, cornet specialist Warren Vache, tenor saxophonist Harry Allen and others. Scheckter's enticing vocal style has been compared to the great Ella Fitzgerald. This is not to suggest that her vocal range compares, but her approach and general sound does bring to mind the icon's swagger. Borrowing from legendary composers Irving Berlin and Ray Noble, Scheckter begins painting her canvas of the American Songbook with swinging reads of "The Best Thing For You" and "I Hadn't Anyone Till You," with lively contributions from the Pizzarelli, Vaché and Allen.
Beautiful ballads come into play with "I Have the Feeling I've Been Here Before," which features Scheckter at her best, accompanied well by a delicate cornet solo from Vaché. The singer turns in another sensitive performance on the Richard Rodgers title piece before sharing vocals with Tony DeSare on Duke Ellington's "I Didn't Know About You." Scheckter seems comfortable with ballads, delivering more tender moments with lush performances on "A Face Like Yours," "Stuck In A Dream With Me," "I'm Glad There Is You" and the Cy Coleman standard, "I Walk A Little Faster." The Rodgers and Hart standard "Where Or When" features the singer in a duet of sorts with harmonicist Gil Chimes.
Scheckter swings well on such classics as "How Little We Know," "Accidents Will Happen" and "Along With Me." Adding a bit of creative innovation to the project, the album closes with a version of "Will You Be Mine" with new lyrics supplied by Bob Feinberg. His text includes clever and humorous references to Donald Trump, Hugh Hefner, Paris Hilton and even Fox Newsall germane to the 2011-2012 political landscape. One thing is certainly "Easy To Remember," Jane Scheckter is an uncommon songbird whose voice and music will not soon be forgetten.
Track Listing: The Best Thing For You; I Hadn't Anyone Till You; I Have The Feeling I've Been Here Before; I Was A Little Too Lonely; Easy To Remember; I Didn't Know About You; Don't Let It Get You Down; Will You Still Be Mine; A Face Like Yours; Where Or When; How Little We Know; Stuck In A Dream With Me; Accidents Will Happen; I'm Glad There Is You; Along With Me; I Walk A Little Faster; Bonus! Will You Be Mine.
Personnel: Jane Scheckter: vocals; Tedd Firth: piano; Jat Leonhart: bass; Peter Grant: drums; Bucky Pizzarelli: guitar; Warren Vaché: cornet; Harry Allen: tenor saxophone; Aaron Weinstein: violin; Tony DeSare: vocals (6); Gil Chimes: harmonica (10).
Record Label: Self Produced