The mood set by the title of Jody Sandhaus' maiden album is expressed by many tunes found on the play list. Winter is cold and desolate, while the bright moon is a beacon of better things to come. This theme comes through especially on poet and lyricist Fran Landesman's "The Ballad of the Sad Young Men" which she wrote with constant collaborator, Tommy Wolf. This tune promises hope for young men who have been wandering through life without much purpose. "Misbegotten moon, Shine for sad young men, Let your gentle light, Guide them home again, All the sad young men." Jody Sandhaus' interpretation of this tune is right there with Johnny Hartman's version in terms of sincerity and depth of feeling. Abbey Lincoln's poignant "Not in Love" is given similar sensitive treatment by Sandhaus. The first chorus of the title tune, "Winter Moon", becomes a sonata for voice and bass in the hands of Sandhaus and master bassist and teacher, Rufus Reid. This close to classical presentation is evident on other cuts as well like "For all We Know". Here Sandhaus works gently in a dignified setting with pianist Pete Malinverni. The delicate Malinverni piano is very important to the aura of sympathetic understanding which characterizes this session.
While the album leans toward the melancholy, it is by no means bereft of brighter moments which uplift the spirits. A seductive "Caravan" and a matter of fact "I Should Care" are among the best in this category. On all the tunes, Sandhaus stays with the melody avoiding swoops, scatting and other vocal aerobatics, and engaging in note bending only where necessary to make her interpretative point. She also manages to stay relaxed and at ease on all the tunes she delivers. The lyrics are consistently treated with a mixture of affection and respect.
Winter Moon is a fine first out of the gate album and holds out great promise of more good things in the future. In fact, Sandhaus is working on a new release with Saranac which should be hitting the streets in the not too distant future. Visit Jody at her Internet site at www.jodysandhaus.com.
Personnel: Jody Sandhaus - Vocals; Pete Malinverni - Piano; Rufus Reid - Bass; Leroy Williams - Drums