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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Connie Evingson: Sweet Happy Life

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There are surprises galore and much to be enjoyed in Sweet Happy Life, from fine Minneapolis-based vocalist, Connie Evingson. Perhaps the most immediate of those discoveries, even before a listen, is the canon of work from Grammy and Academy Award-winning lyricist, Norman Gimbel, to whose oeuvre this CD is a tribute.With Sweet Happy Life Evingson and her mates superbly cover some of the most well-known selections in popular music. The fascinating thing is that Gimbel, while not as immediately recognizable as the Johnny Mercers of the music world, has written the verbiage to all of these and other ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Connie Evingson: Sweet Happy Life

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Norman Gimbel's name may not register with a lot of educated jazz fans, yet he's linked to some of the most important songs and artists in the music. Gimbel wrote the lyrics attached to harmonica ace Toots Thielemans' best known number, “Bluesette," captured Michel Legrand's musical moods in words on “I Will Wait For You" and “Watch What Happens," and opened up English-language ears to the world of bossa nova. His lyrics for many of Antonio Carlos Jobim's songs are known the world over, yet his name is rarely mentioned when these works are discussed. Minneapolis-based vocalist Connie Evingson is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Connie Evingson & The Hot Club of Sweden: Stockholm Sweetnin’

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After the release of the top-drawer Sweet Happy Life (Minnehhaha Music, 2012), it was worth pursuing the All About Jazz review archives to see if there were any recent Connie Evingson releases we neglected to consider. Imagine our luck that a significant recording has been overlooked, one that appeals directly to Evingson's Scandinavian heritage: 2006's Stockholm Sweetnin'. Recorded with The Hot Club of Sweden, Evingson settles into an uncommon comfort level that allows her to relax and sing from a perfectly natural vantage point. The style of Hot Club jazz is not unlike the “gypsy" motif Evingson ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Connie Evingson: Sweet Happy Life

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Singer Connie Evingson is a master of thematic programming. Her last several recordings have all been predicated on specific themes that showed great consideration in their concepts. Recordings released since the new millennium include: Little Did I Dream: Songs by Dave Frishberg (Minnehaha Music, 2008); Stockholm Sweetnin' (Minnehaha Music, 2006); Gypsy in my Soul (Minnehaha Music, 2005); The Secret of Christmas (Minnehaha Music, 2003); and Let It Be Jazz: Connie Evingson Sings the Beatles (Summit Records, 2003). All are uniformly fine and were well received. The unifying subject of Sweet Happy Life is Grammy and Academy Award-winning ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Connie Evingson: Little Did I Dream: Songs by Dave Frishberg

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The late Tip O'Neill once said, .."All politics is local." This certainly can be said for jazz also. All of America's metropolitan areas have a jazz contingency. Chicago has Kurt Elling, Patricia Barber, and Von Freeman; Washington DC has Buck Hill; and New York has who knows how many? The Twin Cities, Minneapolis-St. Paul, also has noted jazz talent in Dave Frishberg and vocalist Connie Evingson.

Pianist/vocalist Frishberg, a native of St. Paul, has a long jazz résumé that includes School House Rock (Rhino, 1996), as well as having written numerous songs recorded by Blossom Dearie, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Connie Evingson: Gypsy in My Soul

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2005 should be declared the Year of the Female Jazz Vocalist. In this first quarter we have seen new releases from Cheryl Bentyne, Kate McGarry, Patti Wicks, and Dena DeRose. All are notable artists whose new recordings are equally notable. Add to this Connie Evingson's beautifully provocative Gypsy in My Soul, and one can only be encouraged about the state of art in jazz vocals.

Based in the Twin Cities, Evingson chooses much more exotic climes for the theme of her new recording, prewar Paris, when the European jazz world was ruled by a Parisian fiddle player and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Connie Evingson: Gypsy in My Soul

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Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli gave us a timeless chapter in jazz history that emphasized acoustic music with cultural influences from various parts of the world. To that lovely aroma Connie Evingson adds her mellifluous voice and intimate way with a melody. She interprets songs that carry a nostalgic memory, and she carves each one with a distinctive flair. Seamless phrasing, smoky resonance and a genuine caring give her presentation a natural quality.

“Gypsy in My Soul" swings lightly with a comfortable texture, as The Parisota Hot Club lends powerful support. The band complements Evingson's convincing lyric interpretation ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Connie Evingson: The Secret Of Christmas

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Scat singing, interpreting familiar lyrics, and inserting fresh, new ideas into her holiday program, Connie Evingson offers a personal gift for everyone. The Jazz lover appreciates the strength of her vocal instrument and the cohesive manner in which she integrates her artistic companions. The Swing lover appreciates the bright outlook that she’s applied to traditional holiday fare. The Gospel lover appreciates her deep, searing, spiritual portrayal; and the Blues lover appreciates the sincerity of her interpretation.

With ”chestnuts roasting on an open fire,” Evingson sets the scene for holiday delights. Piano, upright bass, swirling brushes, and a luscious ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Connie Evingson: The Secret of Christmas

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Minneapolis-based vocalist Connie Evingson has a way of turning potential musical yawns into highly original and vibrant jazz workouts. Earlier this year her Let it Be Jazz – Connie Evingson Sings the Beatles gave a jolt of jazzy fresh air to a bunch of Lennon/McCartney tunes from the sixties. Now, with The Secret of Christmas, she does the same for holiday music.The set is – wisely – composed mostly of lesser-known classics of the genre, with Evingson in full command of her rich and melliflous vocal tone. Included here are Christmas-time staples like “The Christmas Song" (Chestnuts roasting ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Connie Evingson: Let It Be Jazz: Connie Evingson Sings The Beatles

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The songs that John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote and recorded with the Beatles in the 1960s have left lasting impressions on all of us. They are timeless anecdotes from an era of exploration and change. On Let It Be Jazz Connie Evingson places each of these familiar melodies into a mainstream jazz context with a natural feel and a seamless transition.

Based in Minneapolis and a veteran of four previous CD releases, Evingson possesses a clear alto vocal range with an easy-to-like lyric delivery. Vivid and accurate expression remains her greatest asset.

Along with pianist Mary Louise Knutson, she’s ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Connie Evingson: Let It Be Jazz: Connie Evingson Sings The Beatles

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In my experience, non-pop interpretations of the Beatles? songbook have been dismal at best, suicidal at worst. Part of the problem, I suspect, is one of context. It seems that the Beatles canon does not lend itself readily to differing genre applications. Take for example Telarc?s recent attempt to apply a blues treatment to The White Album : The Blues White Album, while courageous, fell far short of making any serious artistic statement. No, it seems that a finely tuned cultural and musical sense is called for when approaching the music of the Beatles.

That daunting prospect noted, it was ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Connie Evingson: Let It Be Jazz: Connie Evingson Sings The Beatles

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We orignal diehard Beatles fans--those of us who came of age during and just after the '64 British Invasion--tend to cringe at the mention of Beatles jazz albums. There's a certain sanctity associated with the music of the Fab Four; and who among us hasn't encountered an uninspired and blandly arranged Beatles knock-off? Certainly there have been some successes: trumpeter Wallace Roney--with Tony Williams' band and on his own--seems to have an affinity for Lennon/McCartney tunes; and the Either/Orchestra just last year recorded a rollicking Latinized verison of George Harrison's “Don't Bother Me (No Me Molesta)." But these ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Connie Evingson: Some Cats Know

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Given that Connie Evingson first album, Fever, was a tribute to Peggy Lee, her latest with another famous Lee song, as the title. Some Cats Know, falls into the same category. Not so. While there is a nod or two to Ms Lee, this CD is an exhilarating, entertaining one hour plus exposition of Ms Evingson's considerable vocal skills accentuated by the presence of several eminent veteran jazz players. Their talents, nor those of the very good local musicians on this session, aren't wasted.

Individual attention has been given to the presentation and arrangement of each of the songs on ...



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