After favoring soul and disco in the 1970s and early '80s, Marlena Shaw has made jazz her #1 priority in the 1990s. The big-voiced, Carmen McRae-influenced singer did some impressive things in R&B (including the humorous "Go Away, Little Boy"), but Elemental Soul reminds us that it's certainly great to have her back on the jazz tip. Shaw (who is joined by tenor hero Stanley Turrentine on three tunes) shows just how persuasive an improviser she can be on everything from Mose Allison's "Your Mind Is On Vacation" to the standards "My Old Flame" and "How Deep Is The Ocean," and she even manages to surprise us on "Round Midnight"giving us a rare chance to hear the Thelonious Monk standard at a medium tempo. Heaven knows, "Round Midnight" has been done to death, but amazingly, Shaw's version sounds fresh. Again, it's great to have Shaw back on the jazz tip.
Reprinted with the permission of Myrna Daniels and L.A. Jazz Scene , the largest jazz publication in Southern California.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.