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Subtitled Jazz Standards & New Tunes, this second album by singer Christiana Drapkin offers six selections from the Great American Songbook and jazz standards, along with six new originals. The group is headed by pianist Charles Sibirsky, who is Drapkin's teacher/composer/accompanist. He is an adept pianist and has written some good material here. The album opens in a promising manner with a laid back, mid-tempo "Time On My Hands" with the singer's relaxed and assured delivery. A Sibirsky original, "Open Your Heart" begins as an attractive bossa with a guitar intro from John Merrill and is one of the high points of the session. Drapkin then presents a smokey cabaret reading of "You Don't Know What Love Is."
The album continues with four successive new tunes. "Cholesterol Blues" is a "cute" song with a humorous idea. Unfortunately, it is not that funny and the lyrics do not warrant the six minute-plus running time. The best of these songs is the ballad "Jazzman's Serenade," written by tenor saxman Charley Krachy, who is given a feature spot. Another of these tunes, "Formation," written by Sibirsky, features Drapkin's scatting with the piano trio. An appearance by Krachy's tenor sax could have added to this bebop line.
Christiana Drapkin also provides vocals for two bona fide jazz standards. On "Procrastination Blues," which are lyrics set to Charlie Parker's "Now's The Time," the words do not sing the praises of Bird as Eddie Jefferson and Jon Hendricks have done in the past. Rather, hers is a pleasant and tuneful story of a person's time management problems. Thelonious Monk's "Blue Monk" is presented here with Abbey Lincoln's lyrics and retitled "Monkery's The Blues." After about thirty years of hearing this lyric performed soulfully by Abbey Lincoln in her Candid days, this is a change of pace. The latter part of this album contains two sturdy standards, "Just Friends" and "Out of Nowhere," that are often used as jazz vehicles. They both start out brightly but seem attenuated by the vocalese and scatting from Drapkin. I would have welcomed the presence of Merrill and Krachy on these selections.
Track Listing: Time On My Hands(You In My Arms), Open Your Heart, You Don't Know What Love Is, Cholesterol Blues, Among The Living, Formation, Jazzman's Serenade, Procrastination Blues (Now's The Time), Songs About You, Just Friends, Monkery's The Blues (Blue Monk), Out of Nowhere.
Personnel: Christiana Drapkin,vocal; Charles Sibirsky,piano; Murray Wall,bass; John Merrill,guitar; Charley Kracky, tenor sax.