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For her 4th album, Jeanie Bryson has moved from Telarc label to Koch which has provided a more comfortable framework for her calm, but often sensual, vocal style. Too long seen - - and unfairly so - - as a Peggy Lee clone, she comes into her own on this album. No doubt, there is a resemblance to Peggy. But all singers have been influenced by somebody sometime. What help breaks the link is the play list. The selections have more of a contemporary bent about them, more so than on Bryson's previous albums. Some songs have electronic instrumentation added bringing them close to modern pop such as "I'd Like to Be a Baby to You" and "Poetry Man". Other tracks feature the breezy flute of Gerry Niewood which tends to keep matters airy and light such as on a samba paced "Now or Never" and on other cuts as well. There is a clever combination of jazz classic, "Con Alma", with the oldie "Am I Blue". The arrangement puts the lyrics of the latter on top of the former as Bryson's voice is underscored by John Herbert's arco bass.
Bryson is joined by some stellar musicians for this session. A surprise is Etta Jones doing "It's So Nice to Have a Man Around the House" backed by Coleman Mellett on guitar. Other notable visitors include Christian McBride on bass and Steve Nelson on vibes. These two team up with Bryson for a compelling, ear catching "Azure Te". The steady hands of long time accompanist Ted Brancato help assure that the singer gets the support that meets her needs.
Deja Blue is the product of a poised performer who has matured to the point where she sings with absolute authenticity and authority. This is clearly a breakout album and is recommended. Visit Jeanie's Internet home at www.jeaniebryson.com.
Track Listing: Deja Blue; Poetry Man; It's So Nice to Have a Man Around the House*; I'd Like to Be Baby to You; Sadness; I Told You I Love You, Now Get Out; Azure Te; Hello It's Me; Bittersweet Surrender**; Now or Never; Do You Sometimes Think of Us; Con Alma/Am I Blue
Personnel: Jeanie Bryson - Vocal; Ted Brancato - Piano/Fender Rhodes; John Herbert - Bass; Christian McBride - Acoustic & Electric Bass; Coleman Mellett - Guitar; Andrea Valentini - Drums; Steve Nelson - Vibes; Gerry Niewood - Flute/Alto Flute; Chuggy Carter - Percussion; Etta Jones*/Frank Weber** - Vocal
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.