Ann Hampton Callaway shows off her persuasive pipes on this memorable program of familiar songs and originals. Backed by pianist Ted Rosenthal, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Lewis Nash, she explores the kind of songs that drive Broadway wild. Sherrie Maricle's Diva big band appears on four tracks, while band members Anat Cohen (tenor saxophone) and Jami Dauber (trumpet) fill in on three additional selections with a moving spirit.
With a blues theme running through her album, Callaway aims for the dramatic. You can pick up traces of expressive singers in her presentation; singers who have made an impact on her interpretation of this material, such as Lena Horne, Sarah Vaughan, Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald.
Callaway's "Hip to be Happy differs from most of the program. Here, she has put on her "Annie Ross thinking cap and has come up with a highly original song that feels as hip as Lambert, Hendricks & Ross. She sings it with her sister, Liz, in a cool and comfortable posture.
Blues in the Night fills the room with big band sounds as Callaway turns on the charm. She enjoys playing the role with authority. Her big voice belts the blues strong enough, and this band turns on the power for emphasis.
Quieter interpretations such as "It's All Right with Me, "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most and "Willow Weep for Me demonstrate the singer's heartfelt sincerity. Stephen Sondheim's "No One is Alone, from Into the Woods, brings a beautiful passion to the forum, magnified by Anat Cohen's sultry tenor statements. Tender ballads such as this one reveal the true blue side of Callaway's stage presence, while her program holds plenty of other surprises for her audience. Blues in the Night has all the right ingredients for a true jazz celebration.
Ann Hampton Callaway: vocals; Ted Rosenthal: piano; Christian McBride: double bass; Lewis Nash: drums; Liz Callaway: vocals; David Gilmore: guitar. Sherrie Maricle and the Diva Jazz Orchestra (1, 4, 6, 11): Sherrie Maricle: drums, leader; Noriko Ueda: double bass; Kristy Norter: alto saxophone, flute; Erica von Kleist: alto saxophone, clarinet, flute; Anat Cohen, Scheila Gonzalez: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Lisa Parrott: baritone saxophone; Tanya Darby, Jami Dauber, Nadje Noordhuis, Alicia Rau: trumpet; Deborah Weisz, Jennifer Krupa: trombone; Leslie Havens: bass trombone.
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