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Jody Sandhaus: A Fine Spring Morning

Dan McClenaghan By

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She can sing with a hint of angelic innocence ("A Fine Spring Morning") or lay down the lyrics like the devil's sitting on her shoulder ("Whatever Lola Wants"), with an instrument that makes achingly beautiful sounds—just listen to the ending of "Deed I Do," when she scats (she's got that angel thing going again here) into the string of one syllable words.

Jody Sandhaus is the vocalist; One Fine Morning 's the CD, a lady singer in front of a piano/bass/drums trio, the way Tony Bennett does it with the Ralph Sharon and the guys—spare, tasteful accompaniment that swings at times.

Sanhaus goes after some of the great songwriters—Ellington, Cole Porter, Hammerstein/Kern—but it's their lesser known tunes she's chosen. And some real surprises are heard—Steve Allen's "Picnic" and Ellington's "I Like The Sunrise" (from the Liberian Suite ), which rolls along in a relaxed groove, showcasing Sandhau's voice in a straightforward mode, completely lacking in affectation—just a beautiful song, sung beautifully.

"All Or Nothng At All" is probably the best known tune here, and Ms. Sandhaus delivers flawless intonation, a horn-like delivery. Peggy Lee's "There'll Be Another Spring" features a vocal brimming with emotion on a song about love's passing and its inevitable rebirth, but Sandhaus puts so much heartfelt compassion into the words that I'd guess she's singing it to a child suffering one of those painful but inevitable childhood disappointments.

Then there's the campy "Whatever Lola Wants" (Lola wants you, little man). The way she sings this song, the "little man" is either shaking with anticipation or frozen in his tracks, paralyzed by the shameless yearning, the implacable forwardness of the woman in front of him.

A truly outstanding effort! Vocal jazz doesn't get any better. Pianist Pete Malinverni accompanies Ms. Sandhaus, along with Todd Coolman on bass and Leroy Williams on drums. Perfect backing, nimble and understated, with Malinverni showing a wonderful light touch for small, exquisite embellishments at the end of the singer's phrases. Beautiful music together? Deed they do.

And the sound: Rudy Van Gelder (assisted by Maureen Sickler). Enough said?

Visit Jody Sandhaus on the web at www.jodysandhaus.com .

Track Listing: A Fine Spring Morning, Deed I Do, Picnic, All or Nothing At All, There'll Be Another Spring, Whatever Lola Wants, Get Out of Town, I Like the Sunrise, Relax, Don't Ever Leave Me, Can't Help Singing, Love Look Away

Personnel: Jody Sandhaus--vocals; Pete Maliverni--piano; Todd Coolman--bass; Leroy Williams--drums

Title: A Fine Spring Morning | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: CAP

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