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!

3

Sara Gazarek: Blossom & Bee

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Vocalist Sara Gazarek was in a recording slumber for the past half decade, but 2012 seems to be the year that this sleeping jazz vocal beauty finally awakens. She eased her way back into the ears of her fans with Where Time Stands Still (Charleston Square Recordings, 2012), a collaboration that paired her with Germany's Triosence, and returns full force now, with the sublime Blossom & Bee. This twelve-song program is strongly influenced by the work of vocalist Blossom Dearie but, like Amy Cervini's Dearie-derived Digging Me Digging You (Anzic, 2012), it isn't a tribute album. Both artists simply appreciate Dearie's artistry, allowing it to filter into their own work and, since they come at the music in different manners and only overlap on a few songs, their albums actually serve as interesting companion pieces.

While it's a bit clichéd to say that a collection of songs can make you fall in love with a singer, the shoe fits here. Gazarek balances fancy free notions, effervescence, carefree whims, fragile emotions, precocious pondering and humor in her work, making this a highly attractive outing as a whole. Some singers seem admirable from a distance, but Sara Gazarek comes off as the ultimate humanized vocalist who could knock you out with a performance and then sit down with you and have a nice talk for an hour over coffee.

Gazarek and her band gathered a wide variety of material for this date, mixing originals in with the music of Rodgers and Hart, hip pop-ster Ben Folds and many others, but nothing seems out of place. They deliver a unified statement as they put their stamp on each song, creating stunning, tailor-made arrangements. Gazarek shares the spotlight with guest singer/guitarist John Pizzarelli on the breezy title track, which features a terrific melodica solo from Larry Goldings, and she taps into her spiritual side on the only other original inclusion, "Fly Away Birdie." She does to "Down With Love" what Jane Monheit did with "Cheek To Cheek," creating a signature arrangement underscored with snappy hits below, and she comfortably swims in wordless waters on "So This Is Love."

The singer's connection to bassist Hamilton Price becomes apparent on a touching performance of Folds' "The Luckiest," but her most simpatico supporter proves to be pianist Josh Nelson, who shines at every turn. Closing out the album with a Dearie-connected School House Rock number ("Unpack Your Adjectives") proves to be a wise decision, as it shows that Gazarek doesn't suffer from the I-take-myself-too-seriously epidemic that plagues so many of jazz's upper crust vocalists.

Blossom & Bee marks Gazarek's arrival at Palmetto records and they're probably pleased as punch about their decision to sign her. This is an A+ album in every respect.

Track Listing: Everything I've Got; Blossom & Bee; Fly Away Birdie; The Luckiest; Down With Love; Lucky To Be Me; Tea For Two; I'm Old Fashioned; So This Is Love; The Lies Of Handsome Men; Some Of These Days; Unpack Your Adjectives.

Personnel: Sara Gazarek: voice; Josh Nelson: piano; Hamilton Price: bass; Zach Harmon: drums; John Pizzarelli: voice, guitar; Larry Goldings: piano, melodica, organ.

Title: Blossom & Bee | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Palmetto Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Solid Gold CD/LP/Track Review Solid Gold
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 15, 2018
Read Ts'iibil Chaaltun CD/LP/Track Review Ts'iibil Chaaltun
by Don Phipps
Published: January 15, 2018
Read One Night in Indy CD/LP/Track Review One Night in Indy
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 15, 2018
Read A Sky You Could Strike a Match On CD/LP/Track Review A Sky You Could Strike a Match On
by Patrick Burnette
Published: January 15, 2018
Read Open Borders CD/LP/Track Review Open Borders
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 14, 2018
Read can't believe, won't believe CD/LP/Track Review can't believe, won't believe
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: January 14, 2018
Read "Luisa" CD/LP/Track Review Luisa
by Doug Collette
Published: July 1, 2017
Read "A Gathering Foretold" CD/LP/Track Review A Gathering Foretold
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "New Chapter" CD/LP/Track Review New Chapter
by Jim Olin
Published: September 27, 2017
Read "Floating City" CD/LP/Track Review Floating City
by James Nadal
Published: March 9, 2017
Read "Grace" CD/LP/Track Review Grace
by James Nadal
Published: August 5, 2017
Read "Eka" CD/LP/Track Review Eka
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 21, 2017