There exists an intersection point in a vocal recording where four elements coalesce in excellence to produce a superb recording: the vocal, instrumental, material and sonic. Singer Jackie Ryan's Listen Here exists on this very point. AAJ critic Dan Bilawsky addressed the first two elements in his thoughtful review of Listen Here, calling Ryan, a force of nature" and her instrumental support, damn good," observations easily echoed here and not improved upon. The latter pair of elements deserve a bit of attention because the difference between good" and exceptional" song choice and engineering is often quite great, illustrating just ...read more
With Listen Here, vocalist Jackie Ryan offers a diverse and delectable array of Great American Songbook and jazz classics, well-known but not regularly-recorded older hits, and superb original selections. Supported by Grammy Award-winning bassist John Clayton and most able friends (including Clayton's son, pianist Gerald, a three-time Grammy nominee), the overall effort soars. It's a tour de force of talent and taste.Ryan's voice is full, highly resonant and eminently inviting. It is also one of subtle shadings. Her colorings run from the bluest blue to the sultriest scarlet. Her intonation and rhythmic sense--knowing precisely where to place a ...read more
Jackie Ryan isn't simply a singer; she's a force of nature. Her voice possesses a weighty power, yet soars with grace and ease. Her ability to transmute into different characters and forms, as dictated by the song, lyrics and style, makes her one in a million and she's managed to parlay that unique gift into project after successful project with some of the best in the business backing her up. This date is no exception. Ryan recruited bassist/arranger extraordinaire John Clayton to build a band around her voice and he reached out to some of his first-call ...read more
This two-CD set is vocalist Jackie Ryan's third recording and it's definitely a keeper. On the heels of her 2007 success, You And The Night And The Music (Open Art Productions), which landed on the charts, also appears destined for success.
With her clear, rich voice, Ryan undoubtedly has one of jazz's great vocal instruments--no low-note warble or reedy high notes for her and with a 3-1/2 octave range, she handles each song with aplomb. In addition, she has a sure sense of phrasing and an unerring accuracy for getting to the heart of a song. To say she always ...read more
San Francisco-based chanteuse Jackie Ryan has a smoky contralto, an impressively wide vocal range and an actress' flair for delivering dramatic lyrics. That adds up to a winning combination on this collection of love songs. Backed by a top-notch trio of Los Angeles musicians, Ryan delivers straight-ahead performances of 14 mostly familiar romantic tunes. She shows she can swing hard on Cole Porter's You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," sing with deep feeling on a heartfelt Spanish-language reading of Besame Mucho" and kick up the sex appeal on a seductive take on The Very Thought ...read more
On most vocal recordings, singers are accompanied by their usual band, perhaps with a famous guest sitting in for a track or two. If the singer and band are good, the result is pleasing--but when the singer is excellent, the band is a crackling, long-term trio on its own, and the guest is a legend, it vaults the whole enterprise into an altogether different category.
All of these elements are here, on Jackie Ryan's third release for Open Art Productions. Ryan is an excellent singer: classy and warm, with a supple, rich, wide-ranging voice, great phrasing and time ...read more
Jackie Ryan is a San Francisco-based vocalist with three excellent CDs available. The most recent two are on Open Art records, the latest is titled This Heart of Mine.All About Jazz: Congratulations on your latest CD, This Heart of Mine. It is an exceptional vocal album and certainly one of the best in the past few years.Jackie Ryan Thank you so much, Roger. It was so fun to do... a labor of love--all the way through to the mix. I loved working with the engineers as much as I loved recording it. It was the most ...read more
The thing that first struck me about this fine recording was the concrete accompaniment provided Ms. Ryan. Solid, effortless swing is what propels this veteran vocalist through This Heart of Mine. The high quality of this swing, which I credit to crack arranging, is that much more a surprise when considering that the arrangements on this recording were very much a concerted effort. All are uniformly fine, but I must tip my hat to pianist Jon Meyer for his astute direction on the title cut, Truman Capote’s, “Sleepin’ Bee” (with the superb Ernie Watts) and “Maybe September,” where the keyboardist achieves ...read more
You simply cannot sing a song any better than Jackie Ryan does. And you cannot make a better jazz vocal CD than this one. It is perfect. If that sounds too reverent, let me change the praise to “perfectly wonderful.” Each of the elements is truly wonderful: the choice of songs, the arrangements, accompanying musicians, even the ordering of the songs. And, most importantly, of course, Jackie Ryan! She is a smart, sophisticated vocalist for grown ups and this is her finest record and, in fact, may well be the best jazz vocal disc of 2003. If justice does exist, ...read more
Listen to Jackie Ryan's voice and consider this: how important is it to you that vocal jazz come from the heart?
Ryan’s latest release proves that nothing works better on your soul than the real thing. With three teams of top-rate West Coast sidemen and welcome appearances from several key guests, Ryan’s straight-ahead program settles in with a charm seldom seen in today’s crowded singer’s market. She’s genuine.
Slow ballads, gentle bossa novas, and swinging romps give the program a sense of variety. Ryan’s creative interpretations expand upon that concept and provide adventures for ...read more
One listen to Jackie Ryan’s voice takes you back to the World War II era when your grandfather, or maybe your uncles, were off fighting our enemies and the big bands were the popular music of the day. Her deep honey rich contralto is the one you could be hearing as you dance at a USO-sponsored shindig in the middle 1940s, while a janitor is sweeping up the shreds of confetti. But, although Ryan’s voice and her choice of songs is perfect for those who love superior singing and the songs of the 1940s, I don’t wish to stretch this ...read more
Coming from the San Francisco area which simply teems with good singers, comes the second CD of the very good Jackie Ryan and her first for the OpenArt label. Filled with emotional intensity falling somewhere between a not so exaggerated Betty Carter and a somewhat cooler Carmen McRae, Ryan applies her vocal virtuosity to a play list of 14 tunes, some familiar, some not, representing a wide spectrum of vocal opportunities. Running the gamut from Moon Indigo" to a wild Vocalese version of Joe Henderson's The Kicker", with words added by Ryan, the listener gets the full sensation of Ryan's ...read more
For heaven’s sake! After reading Jim Merod’s laudatory liner notes to Jackie Ryan’s CD, I thought to myself that she’d have to be one helluva singer to live up to that kind of praise. Well, when all is said and done and the smoke has cleared, she is — at least, she’s close enough to make your average garden–variety curmudgeon sit up and take notice. It starts with the voice, unusually warm and often dusky but with remarkable range, enabling her to employ any stratagem from a whisper to a roar. Ryan’s articulation isn’t always precise, but her unerring sense ...read more
Jackie Ryan is another of those fine singers who enliven the San Francisco jazz scene these days. Although the Bay City is her home base, she has performed in jazz venues throughout the world including one of the most famous, Ronnie Scott's London jazz club.
Jim Merod's BluePort label - - a label very active in giving musicians from this area an opportunity to be heard on CD - - catches Ryan in a live performance at the Lime Leaf in La Jolla CA. Ryan possesses an earthy voice brimming with passion and excitement. She and veteran pianist and accompanist, ...read more
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