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Autumn in Augusta: Autumn in Augusta - Songs My Mama Would Like

C. Michael Bailey By

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Autumn in August—Songs My Mama Would Like is a love letter in the form of a jazz combo. Vocalist Lucy Smith honors her mother with an extended-play disc, presented by the jazz trio plus singer.

Chiming in at just short of 19 minutes over five songs, the collection is a simplicity scrubbed repertoire of Public Domain material, presented sincerely and authentically. This music is wholesome and clean, like Ivory soap. It is unadulterated in any way, completely honest and open. The fact that this is such a brief taste is of no concern, as the music is uniformly fine and just might promise more in the future.

Smith swings the fourth movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony as given lyrics by Henry Van Dyke, alternating time signatures as Dave Brubeck did in "Blue Rondo à la Turk." She has a forceful and authoritative delivery tempered with a sweetness so basic. "Wayfaring Stranger" and "How Can I Keep From Singing" are given gospel treatment, pianist Marcin Fahmy providing the church in his left hand. Smith demonstrates the visceral and harmonic connection between "House of the Rising Sun" and "St. James Infirmary," lightening the dirge-like quality and liberating the song's suffering. Leroy Carr's and Scrapper Blackwell's "How Long, How Long Blues" is brief and heady, a modernizing of the 1928 Vocalion release.

This is a beautifully delicious but brief sample of great talent.

Track Listing: Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You; Wayfaring Stranger; How Can I Keep From Singing; House Of The Rising Sun; How Long, How Long Blues.

Personnel: Lucy Smith: vocals; Marcin Fahmy: piano, keyboards; Junius Paul: bass; Michael Caskey: drums.

Title: Autumn in Augusta - Songs My Mama Would Like | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Self Produced

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