Judy Philbin: Keeping It Simple (2014)
When treated appropriately, a duo performance like that of Philbin and Levine produces a recording, at once, that is warm and intimate. The pair easily accomplishes this with their compelling mixture of popular standards and originals. A "Moonglow" as familiar as your grandparent's living room and a "Skylark" so perfectly balanced bookend the original "Django's Delight," a clever song that quotes Dizzy Gillespie's "Salt Peanuts" before revving up into a Le Hot Club de France stroll down the Left Bank. Philbin's voice is no nonsense, pliable and studied, easily slipping from the contemporary- folk "Keeping it Simple" into a period setting of "The Nearness of You.."
Standout, over-the-top is a plaintively authentic reading of "Besame Mucho." Levine summons that low Latin guitar and Philbin sings in the original Spanish. Plainly, this performance is so close it is fragrant with Spring humidity and the evening dinner. Oklahoma's "Surry with the Fringe on Top" bounces with mirth and fun, Philbin navigating R&H's modulations so that the song melds well with those surrounding it. As a total program, Keeping it Simple works well on every level, hitting all of the highpoints making it a very enjoyable disc.
Track Listing: A Wink and a Smile; Moonglow; Django’s Delight; Skylark; Keeping it Simple; Nearness of You; Besame Mucho; Surry with the Fringe on Top; Nova; Blue Bayou; Why Do Fools Fall in Love; Don’t be Easy On Me.
Personnel: Judy Philbin: vocals; Adam Levine: guitar.
Record Label: Self Produced