How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Some advice for jazz singers: record your disc as if it were a club date. Do it live in the studio; forget about headphones and separate booths, overdubs and tweaking stuff after the fact. Just do it, as they say. Let the music breathe. That's exactly what vocalist Jan Eisen does with Summer Me, Winter Me, and her music breathes deeply on this set of both well and lesser-known tunes from the Great American Songbook.
A long-time entertainer who started in the business at age nine, Eisen took time off to raise a family. But she's back in full Swing (note the capital "S") with a marvelous band, making magic on chestnuts like the joyful "Deed I Do," getting a bit sassy on "Loving That Man of Mine," drinking deeply from the jazz tradition with "Skylark," or grooving coolly on the title track.
The members of the bandguitarist Jamie Findlay, bassist/cellist Benjamin May, drummer Kendall Kay and percussionist Alex Acunakeep a sustained, understated mood start to finish. Acuna's percussion leans things toward the Latin side at times.
Then there's the voice: Eisen's pipes have a silky smoothness and a ringingly clear intonation. And she has a way with a phrase: she sings of "breathing my name with a song" on "Deep Purple"a 1960s top-ten radio hit by April Stevens and Nino Tempo. Jan Eisen and her band breathe a relaxed magic into the entire set on Summer Me, Winter Me.
Track Listing: Papa Can You Hear Me; You Must Believe in Spring; Deed I Do; Cocktails for Two; With a Song in My Heart;
Loving Me, Loving You, Loving Me; Can't Help Loving That Man of Mine; Darn That Dream; Lullaby of Leaves;
Isn't It a Pity; On the Street Where You Live; Skylark; Summer Me Winter Me; Deep Purple; Cherry Pink and Apple
Personnel: Jan Eisen: vocals; Jamie Findlay: guitar; Benjamin May: acoustic bass, cello; Kendall Kay: drums; Special Guest:
Alex Acuna: percusssion.