All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

4

Vivian Buczek: Ella Lives

Chris Mosey By

Sign in to view read count
Sweden's Vivian Buczek, fast approaching her 40th birthday, comes across more as a schoolgirl with a crush on her teacher on this, her seventh solo album, which pays tribute to The First Lady Of Song. Ella Fitzgerald—had she not died in 1996—would be 100 this year.

"Ella Fitzgerald has always been my greatest inspiration and the main reason that I have become a jazz singer," Buczek explains in the sleeve note. Her father Bruno, who played trombone, introduced her to Fitzgerald: "I had never heard such honest and joyful singing before. The way she used her voice in so many different ways was astonishing to me."

Along with obligatory dollops of Ella-style scat, Buczek delivers 10 numbers from the Great American Songbook closely associated with her idol. Then, in case anyone should doubt her devotion, she closes with Mercer Ellington's "Things Ain't What They Used To Be," abandoning Ted Persons' lyric at one point to moan ecstatically, "Oh, Lady Ella... sweet Ella."

Mind, nearly everyone involved seems to be affected by the awesome subject matter. Pianist Martin Sjöstedt's arrangements—particularly on Jerome Kern's "Yesterdays"—try just that little bit too hard, hemming in soloists like Peter Asplund (trumpet) and Karl-Martin Almqvist (saxophone), rather than giving them space to breathe new life into these—let's face it—sometimes rather tired, old songs.

Despite being used as a pretext for a ghastly 1992 Meg Ryan movie of the same name, Duke Ellington's "Prelude To A Kiss" from 1938 should surely now be definitively laid to rest as a vocal number. The schlocky, cocktail bar lyrics were only tacked onto Ellington's lovely tune by Irving Mills, his money-grubbing manager, in a bid to garner more royalties. Though Duke wouldn't have complained. The cash helped to keep his band on the road.

Cole Porter's "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," written in 1943, holds up reasonably well in the present day, though best sung in a room with an open fireplace. It gets a stellar, straight-ahead outing here and is blessed with a fine bass solo by Niklas Fernqvist.

Asplund and Almqvist vie for solo honours on "Lady Be Good" and there's a rollicking, if somewhat incongruous vocal from Buczek. Incongruous? Perhaps not. When it comes to declarations of love, gender seems of increasingly little consequence these days. If Cole Porter were still around, he'd no doubt write a song about it.

Buczek seems to be following Fitzgerald's example in staying, specifically a jazz singer. She displays a good feel for her material and is generally careful not to let style triumph over substance. She is, understandably, big in Sweden. Elsewhere? The jury is still out on that one.

Track Listing: You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To; Yesterdays; Prelude To A Kiss; The Man I Love; It’s Alright With Me; The Very Thought Of You; Caravan; Lady Be Good; Tenderly; Misty; Things Ain’t What They Used To Be.

Personnel: Vivian Buczek: vocals; Martin Sjöstedt: piano; Mattias Ståhl: vibraphone; Fredrik Lindborg, Karl-Martin Almqvist: reeds; Peter Asplund: trumpet, flugelhorn; Niklas Fernqvist: bass; Johan Löfkrantz Ramsay: drums.

Title: Ella Lives | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Prophone Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Ella Lives

Ella Lives

Prophone Records
2017

buy
Curiosity

Curiosity

Volenza
2015

buy
Live At The Palladium

Live At The Palladium

Crown Jewels
2012

buy
Dedication To My Giants

Dedication To My...

Crown Jewels
2011

buy

Related Articles

Read Out in the Open CD/LP/Track Review
Out in the Open
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Contemporary Chaos Practices CD/LP/Track Review
Contemporary Chaos Practices
by Don Phipps
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Changed Beings CD/LP/Track Review
Changed Beings
by Chris May
Published: November 16, 2018
Read We Must Mustn't We CD/LP/Track Review
We Must Mustn't We
by John Sharpe
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Two Infinitudes; The One You "see" and the One That Is You. CD/LP/Track Review
Two Infinitudes; The One You "see" and the One...
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Always Forward CD/LP/Track Review
Always Forward
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 15, 2018
Read "The Window" CD/LP/Track Review The Window
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 21, 2018
Read "Dreamstruck" CD/LP/Track Review Dreamstruck
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 24, 2018
Read "Concentric Circles" CD/LP/Track Review Concentric Circles
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: May 11, 2018
Read "The Last Taxi, In Transit" CD/LP/Track Review The Last Taxi, In Transit
by Geannine Reid
Published: October 1, 2018
Read "Emanon" CD/LP/Track Review Emanon
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 14, 2018
Read "Esperanto/Toca Antonio Carlos Jobim" CD/LP/Track Review Esperanto/Toca Antonio Carlos Jobim
by Kevin Press
Published: February 19, 2018