Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

145

Janis Siegel: A Thousand Beautiful Things

Woodrow Wilkins By

Sign in to view read count
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, background vocals; Edsel Gomez: piano, background vocals; Edmar Casteneda: Columbian harp; John Benitez: bass, background vocals; Steve Hass: drums, background vocals; Luisito Quintero: drums, percussion, background vocals; Brian Lynch: trumpet, flugelhorn; Marlon Saunders, Silvia Ramirez, Silvia Rodriques, Silvia Maria Romero, Silvia Rosario: background vocals.

Title: A Thousand Beautiful Things | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Telarc Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Roppongi CD/LP/Track Review Roppongi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Is Life Long? CD/LP/Track Review Is Life Long?
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Contra la indecision CD/LP/Track Review Contra la indecision
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Vessel in Orbit CD/LP/Track Review Vessel in Orbit
by Don Phipps
Published: January 19, 2018
Read Pulse/Quartet CD/LP/Track Review Pulse/Quartet
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: January 19, 2018
Read OR CD/LP/Track Review OR
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2018
Read "Akua's Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: April 19, 2017
Read "Transient" CD/LP/Track Review Transient
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 3, 2017
Read "Groove Dreams" CD/LP/Track Review Groove Dreams
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 23, 2017
Read "Neko" CD/LP/Track Review Neko
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 2, 2017
Read "Reunion – Live From Cafe Oto" CD/LP/Track Review Reunion – Live From Cafe Oto
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 5, 2017
Read "Jorg Schippa's Kiosk" CD/LP/Track Review Jorg Schippa's Kiosk
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 24, 2017