Phil Flanigan is as solid mainstream jazz bassist as there is on today's scene and has been so for many years. There's hardly a quality jazz artist one can mention he hasn't recorded or performed with at some time during his career. On this CD, he hooks up with vocalist Hanna Richardson in a tribute to Maxine Sullivan with a play list of tunes associated with that fine, enduring vocalist. Richardson does nothing to mar the memory that fine lady of song. She swings, has a good sense for the timing, has a way with phrasing that keeps one's attention and sings so one understands the lyrics...and all with an extremely pleasant voice. She and Flanigan are joined by a flock of top flight jazz artists including the redoubtable Keith Ingham at piano, Allan Vaché and Ken Peplowksi sharing the reed work with Chris Flory on guitar and Steve Little filling out the rhythm section. Highlights of this toe tapping disc are "You Turned the Tables on Me"with Vaché taking the solo lead on clarinet and "Dance Only with Me", a cabaret favorite which Sullivan recorded relatively late in her career, 1986. Here Ken Peplowksi rhapsodizes on tenor sax. " As Long As I Live", a tune that Sullivan teamed up to do with Bob Wilbur in 1969 and which moves along quite briskly with Ingham's piano on top in the solo department. "But Beautiful" is the crowning ballad on the set with primarily a Richardson/Flanigan duo.
There are some Sullivan tunes that one might have hoped to see here such as her unique rendition of "Skylark" and, of course, the song that helped bring her to the top of the heap, "Loch Lomond" with the Claude Thornhill Orch. But one can't have everything. There's no selection on this musical agenda that anyone can complain about.
This is one of those sessions where vocalist and band blend totally to offer more than an hour's worth of good music well played. Recommended. Visit Hanna and Phil at www.HannaPhil.com.
Personnel: Hanna Richardson - Vocals; Phil Flanigan - Bass/Cello; Keith Ingham - Piano; Steve Little - Drums; Alan Vach