Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

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

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Day to Day Album Reviews
Day to Day
By Paul Naser
May 24, 2019
Read Theia Album Reviews
Theia
By Jim Worsley
May 24, 2019
Read Ain't Nothing But a Cyber Coup & You Album Reviews
Ain't Nothing But a Cyber Coup & You
By Dan McClenaghan
May 24, 2019
Read Nexus Album Reviews
Nexus
By Jakob Baekgaard
May 23, 2019
Read The Second Coming Album Reviews
The Second Coming
By Daniel Barbiero
May 23, 2019
Read Luminária Album Reviews
Luminária
By John Sharpe
May 23, 2019