The selections chosen for vocalist Libby York’s new offering, Sunday in New York
, find this classically cool song stylist in what seems to be familiar territory. A trio led by pianist Renee Rosnes is very comfortable with itself and includes her aptly named sidemen: drummer and husband Billy Drummond and bassist Todd Coolman. The three have no trouble navigating the potpourri of vocal standards that York skillfully delivers in a format that instills an intimate feel to material that is often heard in the context of bigger band arrangements. Venerable tenor man Frank Wess adds authenticity and zest to three cuts, becoming a vital part of this overall strong session.
Ms. York’s rich mellow vocals and understated sophisticated approach reflect a combination of mature sensuality and little girl coyness. The repertoire and influence of ‘50s cool school vocalist June Christy is in evidence throughout, and most specifically with program opener “Midnight Sun” and closer “That’s All.” The former has York’s voice plumbing the depths of emotions as Drummond’s brushwork creates a pensive mood offset by Wess’ honey toned tenor, while the latter is a smoky tribute to the deceptive simplicity of commitment. The title cut swings as Coolman’s intro constructs the perfect setting for York to impart the singular experience of a Sunday in the city whose name she endures.
Rosnes tenders the familiar Bill Evans tune “Waltz for Debby” in a medium tempo while York conveys the appropriate pensive feel and the very bluesy “Aint I Good to You” includes a warm Wess solo that combined with York’s sultry vocal shows just how hot cool can get. The requisite samba number is present as we are treated to “Down in Brazil” and Wess joins in again to sweetly color an otherwise swinging “Like Someone in Love.” Two wistful Sinatra ballads and a surprising update of “I Go For That” round out this highly listenable get together.
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This review originally appeared in AllAboutJazz-New York .
Personnel: Renee Rosnes: Piano;
Billy Drummond: Drums;
Todd Coolman: Bass;
Frank Wess: Tenor Sax;
Libby York: Vocals.