145

Janis Siegel: A Thousand Beautiful Things

Woodrow Wilkins By

Sign in to view read count
Janis Siegel: A Thousand Beautiful Things Janis Siegel is amazing. One of the principal voices behind The Manhattan Transfer from the start, she's also an accomplished solo artist. And the fascinating thing is, you never really know what she's going to do next. Enter A Thousand Beautiful Things. The title may be misleading, because each note counts from the first track to the last, adding up to tens of thousands of beautiful things on this album.

A nine-time Grammy winner and seventeen-time Grammy nominee, Siegel has been a fixture with The Manhattan Transfer for 33 years. She has led some of the group's most popular songs, including "Twilight Tone, "The Boy from N.Y.C., "Ray's Rockhouse and "Birdland. In addition, she has nine solo albums to her credit, including I Wish You Love, Friday Night Special and Sketches of Broadway. Throughout, Siegel has shown a fondness for standards, but the new album takes a different direction. "As much as I love singing standards, it's not the only thing I love doing, and eventually I came to the idea of just doing some songs that I love—songs that I think are timely and relevant—in a Latin rhythmic context, she says.

Among these is the stunning rendition of "I Can't Help It, penned by Susaye Cotton Green and Stevie Wonder and recorded on Michael Jackson's Off the Wall. The rhythm set by Jackson's version lends itself to a jazz interpretation. It's definitely a beautiful thing that Siegel took it on, complemented by a sterling trumpet solo from Brian Lynch. At 6:01, it's the third longest track on the album, offering plenty of room for the ensemble to go exploring.

The title song, a cover of Annie Lennox's hit, allows even more improvisation. Marlon Saunders, a background singer on most of the tracks, adds an improvised recitation, naming a number of beautiful things as the song winds down. Drummer Steve Hass, a regular with The Manhattan Transfer, on whose Traveler album Siegel appears, layers some sensational support throughout, but particularly during Saunders' recitation. Edmar Castaneda plays Colombian harp on several tracks, including a duet with Siegel on "A Wish. On the delightful "The Suitcase Song, Siegel and her sidemen are backed by Las Siegelitas, a vocal quartet that could easily be called "The Four Sylvias. Bassist John Benetiz lays down a slick groove on the cover of Paul Simon's "Love, punctuated by pianist Edsel Gomez and Hass.

The Latin flavoring, superb musicianship and, of course, Siegel's vocal dexterity and versatility make this record a keeper. Those who've only heard Sigel within the scope of The Manhattan Transfer are in for a jaw-dropping surprise—not that those already familiar with her solo efforts won't experience the same effect. She's clearly on top of her game. And the entire album has a sense of fun: Siegel and her supporting cast don't hold back their own enjoyment of putting this collection together. That clearly is one of A Thousand Beautiful Things.

Track Listing: Hidden Place; The Suitcase Song; I Can

Personnel: Janis Siegel: vocals; Edsel Gomez: piano; Edmar Casteneda: Colombian harp; John Benitez: acoustic bass and electric six-string bass; Steve Hass: drums; Luisito Quintero: percussion, drums and percussion (8); Marlon Saunders: background vocals, improvised recitation (5); Saunders, Quintero, Hass, Benitez, Gomez and Las Siegeltas (Silvia Ramirez, Silvia Rodriques, Silvia Maria Romery and Silvia Rosario): background vocals (2); Gomez, Quintero, Saunders, Benitez and Hass: background vocals (3); Brian Lynch, trumpet (3) and flugelhorn (10).

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Telarc Records | Style: Vocal


Shop

More Articles

Read Speechless CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Holiday On Fire CD/LP/Track Review Holiday On Fire
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Calvins Toboggan CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Silent Light CD/LP/Track Review Silent Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read PausaLive CD/LP/Track Review PausaLive
by Patrick Keyes
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Fugitive Beauté" CD/LP/Track Review Fugitive Beauté
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 11, 2016
Read "Four Plus Three" CD/LP/Track Review Four Plus Three
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 5, 2016
Read "Rough Enough" CD/LP/Track Review Rough Enough
by Nicola Negri
Published: August 7, 2016
Read "April" CD/LP/Track Review April
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 29, 2017
Read "High Noon" CD/LP/Track Review High Noon
by Anthony Shaw
Published: September 10, 2016
Read "Piano Song" CD/LP/Track Review Piano Song
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 21, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!