All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

4

DIVA: A Swingin' Life

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
As if being the premier all-female big band on the planet weren't enough, DIVA has enlisted the services of two purebred divas—Nancy Wilson and Marlena Shaw—to enrich its latest album, A Swingin' Life, recorded live at Pittsburgh's Manchester Craftsmen's Guild (November 2011) and Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center (September 2012).

Wilson and Shaw are more than window dressing, giving their all on five of the album's eleven numbers. Wilson brings out the best in Sammy Cahn / Jimmy van Heusen's b-level standard, "All My Tomorrows," and the far more congenial (and swinging) "All of Me," while Shaw, whose magnetism is reminiscent of the great Joe Williams, is similarly captivating on a hard-driving blues medley (Goin' to Chicago / Kansas City / Every Day I Have the Blues), Alec Wilder / Loonis McGlohon's dreamy "Blackberry Winter" and the luminous ballad "Wonder Why," once so tastefully sung by Billy Eskstine. Wilson's vocals were recorded at MCG, everything else at Dizzy's.

DIVA, for its part, weighs in with half a dozen galvanic instrumentals, starting with Burt Bacharach / Hal David's "What the World Needs Now," which showcases the first of several dazzling soloists, tenor saxophonist Janelle Reichman . Reichman is featured again (on clarinet) with trumpeter Jami Dauber on "Nothin,'" a buoyant romp written by the ensemble's founder and guiding light for many years, the late Stanley Kay. The rhythm section, overseen as it has been from the band's beginning by drummer Sherrie Maricle and including pianist Tomoko Ohno and bassist Noriko Ueda, is sharp and responsive here, as it is throughout, and especially on the flag-wavers ("What the World Needs Now," "Nothin,'" "Pennies from Heaven," "Blues for Hamp" and, believe it or not, Fredric Chopin's "Nocturne #6, Opus 9, No. 2," neatly rescored by Ueda and featuring Ohno's lissome piano). For an unintended chuckle, the jacket lists the Chopin composition, which later became the pop tune "We Have the Right to Love Again," as having been written by "Louis Clark, Chopin." Couldn't Fredric at least have earned top billing?

Besides those already named, DIVA's first-rate soloists include flugel Nadje Noordhuis (Ray Noble's "The Very Thought of You"), Ueda and baritone Lisa Parrott ("Pennies from Heaven"), pianist Chihiro Yamanaka ("All of Me"), tenor Roxy Cross, trombonist Jennifer Krupa and trumpeter Tanya Darby (Terry Gibbs' Basic-like "Blues for Hamp," which closes the album). Dauber solos on the blues medley and "All My Tomorrows," Ohno on "Blackberry Winter." On its eighth recording to date, DIVA continues to march onward and upward while leading A Swingin' Life (which, by the way, is the best kind to lead if one has the choice).

Track Listing: What The World Need Now Is Love; Nothin'; All My Tomorrows; All of Me; The Very Thought of You; Pennies From Heaven; Blues Medley [Goin' To Chicago Blues; Kansas City; Every Day I Have the Blues]; Blackberry Winter; Wonder Why; Nocturne #6 Opus9, Number 2; Blues For Hamp.

Personnel: Sherrie Maricle: drums; Sharel Cassity: alto saxophone, flute; Karoline Strassmayer: alto saxophone (3, 4); Leigh Pilzer: alto saxophone, flute, baritone saxophone (3, 4); Kristy Norter: alto saxophone (3, 4); Janelle Reichman: clarinet, tenor saxophone (3, 4); Anat Cohen: clarinet, tenor saxophone (3, 4); Roxy Coss: tenor saxophone; Scheila Gonzalez: tenor saxophone (3, 4); Lisa Parrott: baritone saxophone; Tanya Darby: lead trumpet, Flugelhorn; Liesl Whitaker: lead trumpet (3, 4); Jami Dauber: trumpet , Flugelhorn; Barbara Laronga: trumpet (3, 4); Carol Morgan: trumpet, Flugelhorn; Nadje Noordhuis: trumpet, Flugelhorn; Deborah Weisz: trombone; Jennifer Krupa: trombone; Lori Stuntz: trombone (3, 4); Leslie Havens: bass trombone; Tomoko Ohno: piano; Chihiro Yamanaka: piano (3, 4); Noriko Ueda: bass; Nancy Wilson: vocals (3, 4); Marlena Shaw: vocals (7, 8, 9).

Title: A Swingin' Life | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: MCG Jazz

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
A Swingin' Life

A Swingin' Life

MCG Jazz
2014

buy
Johnny Mandel: The Man and his Music

Johnny Mandel: The...

Arbors Records
2010

buy
Never Never Land

Never Never Land

Arbors Records
2009

buy
Live from Jazz at Lincoln Center's Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola

Live from Jazz at...

Diva Jazz, Ltd
2008

buy
I Believe in You

I Believe in You

Arbors Records
2006

buy

Related Articles

Read Undercurrent - Live at Theater Gutersloh CD/LP/Track Review
Undercurrent - Live at Theater Gutersloh
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics CD/LP/Track Review
Lake of Light: Compositions for AquaSonics
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Invisible Atlas CD/LP/Track Review
Invisible Atlas
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Blue Dreams CD/LP/Track Review
Blue Dreams
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: June 24, 2018
Read Still Dreaming CD/LP/Track Review
Still Dreaming
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 24, 2018
Read A New Beginning CD/LP/Track Review
A New Beginning
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 23, 2018
Read "Under The Surface" CD/LP/Track Review Under The Surface
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 29, 2017
Read "Heaven" CD/LP/Track Review Heaven
by Fiona Ord-Shrimpton
Published: July 3, 2017
Read "Serenade for Horace" CD/LP/Track Review Serenade for Horace
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: October 11, 2017
Read "Light in the Ring: The Ali Suite" CD/LP/Track Review Light in the Ring: The Ali Suite
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: June 7, 2018
Read "El Bosque Brillante" CD/LP/Track Review El Bosque Brillante
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: October 7, 2017
Read "Creekside" CD/LP/Track Review Creekside
by Paul Rauch
Published: November 13, 2017