Leila Percy and Muriel Havenstein: Those Sirens of Swing
Percy sings on most cuts with an alto voice with limited range, but with an excellent understanding of the lyrics and the ability to convey her feeling for the music to the listening audience. These songs clearly are familiar territory to her and her interpretations are heartfelt and romantic. Listen to her on a very wistful "What'll I Do" and how she deftly weaves in and out with Jimmy Lyden's bass on "Shiny Stockings." This cut includes an inspired improv by Charlie Jennison's tenor as he recalls "You'd Be So Easy to Love" during his solo. Charlie Jennison's tenor assumes Coleman Hawkins huskiness to it on "Indian Summer." >Peel Me a Grape" is not done in its usual "if you want me you better start peeling now" style a la Anita O'Day, but rather as someone who wants the fruit because she's really hungry.
The album is also a fortuitous mix of vocals and instrumentals. Jennison's sax is featured on Benny Carter's lovely "Only Trust Your Heart" and Havenstein's piano is spotlighted on "You Don't Know What Love Is". Havenstein can get down with most piano styles doing a respectable stride on "There's a Small Hotel" and swinging on "Hey Good Lookin'". But her major contribution is providing the framework for Percy's vocalizing. The rhythm of Lyden and Harris on bass and drums, respectively, lay down a dependable foundation for the proceedings and perform admirably when called on to solo. For me, the tour de force is the group's rendition of one of the most recorded songs of all times, Mr. Carmichael's "Stardust" where Percy is aided and abetted by Havenstein and the Jennison flute. This album is an entertaining 60 minutes plus of music and is recommended.
Tracks:There's a Small Hotel; Indian Summer; Yesterdays; My Funny Valentine; Shiny Stockings; Willow Weep for Me; What a Difference a Day Made; You Don't Know What Love Is; What'll I Do; Peel Me a Grape; Only Trust Your Heart; Stardust; Hey Good Lookin'Tracks:Leila Jane Percy-vocals/band leader; Muriel Havenstein-piano; Jimmy Lyden-bass; Les Harris, Jr.-drums; Charlie Jennison-tenor saxophone/flute
Record Label: Invisible Music Records Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream
Record Label: Invisible Music Records