87

Vickie Smith: cELLAbrate

By

Sign in to view read count
Vickie Smith: cELLAbrate cELLAbrate! is exactly as advertised. Vickie Smith’s newest recording celebrates the memory and irreplaceable talent of the “Queen of Scat,” Ella Fitzgerald. Smith, a Bloomfield, New Jersey-based big band and cabaret singer, draws music for cELLAbrate! from two tribute shows that she performs in the greater New York City area, “Ella!—The Song is You!” and “Ella and Duke—Love You Madly!” The twelve songs are all standards from the Great American Songbook, or drawn from big band classics composed and/or arranged by Duke Ellington.

A prudent choice on Smith’s part is that she does not try to imitate Ella Fitzgerald. For starters, Smith does not scat on most of the tunes and relegates much of the improvisatory work to her sidemen. She does take an interesting exploratory trek on Jobim’s “So Danco Samba,” including quoting the melody from his “Girl from Ipanema.” Smith also does very capable vocalease covering a solo on “How High the Moon,” and she also sings more than a mouthful while performing Jon Hendricks’ pyrotechnic vocalease on Ben Webster’s solo, the saxophone solo and the head on Duke Ellington’s “Cottontail.” In addition to the aforementioned pieces, other standouts are Smith’s renditions of “Oh Lady Be Good,” “What Am I Here For,” and “In a Mellow Tone.”

To this listener, the tour de force in Vickie Smith’s tribute to Ella Fitzgerald is that she delivers the songs on the recording with much the same upbeat ebullient spirit that was a regular focus of many of Fitzgerald’s performances. Smith retains the spirit of Fitzgerald’s artistry without resorting to trying to be Ella Fitzgerald, maintains her own performing persona, and avoids the pitfall of evolving into a substandard imitation. For the fan of straight-ahead singers backed by the simplicity of a solid three-piece rhythm section, Vickie Smith’s cELLAbrate! will be a most enjoyable recording. For those not fortunate enough to live in proximity to hear Smith live, the recording certainly provides a satisfying serving of her talents.


Track Listing: Oh Lady Be Good, Love You Madly, Dedicated to You, Cottontail, How High The Moon, Undecided, So Danco Samba, What Am I Here For, Takin' A Chance On Love, Just Squeeze Me, I'm Beginning To See The Light, In A Mellow Tone

Personnel: Vickie Smith, vocals; Bob de Benedette, piano; Ron Naspo, bass; Rick Visone, drums

Year Released: 2004 | Style: Vocal


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Book II" CD/LP/Track Review Book II
by John Sharpe
Published: March 27, 2016
Read "Testimony" CD/LP/Track Review Testimony
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 13, 2017
Read "Have Yourself an Alto Madness Christmas" CD/LP/Track Review Have Yourself an Alto Madness Christmas
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 4, 2016
Read "Rivers" CD/LP/Track Review Rivers
by James Nadal
Published: June 13, 2016
Read "Westering Home" CD/LP/Track Review Westering Home
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 7, 2016
Read "Rise Of Orion" CD/LP/Track Review Rise Of Orion
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 1, 2016

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!

Buy it!