357

Melody Breyer-Grell: Fascinatin' Rhythms: Singing Gershwin

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Melody Breyer-Grell: Fascinatin' Rhythms: Singing Gershwin 2008 is shaping up to be a stellar year of stripped-down jazz vocal recitals. Witness Long Beach native Melody Breyer-Grell's collection of Gershwin standards, Fascinatin' Rhythms; Breyer-Grell is supported by the basic jazz piano trio, with the intelligently applied supplementation of solo instruments. Breyer-Grell's voice is front and center in this recording, never obscured by the instrumentation. The singer's approach to this canonical material is reverent, but not so as to make it boring.

"Somebody Loves Me and "Nice Work if You Can Get It open the disc on a conservative note, allowing the listener to understand all of the Gershwin Brothers' intentions in their composition of the pieces. Breyer-Grell spars with Don Braden's tenor saxophone for a chorus to introduce the former song, while guitarist John Hart appears on the latter. Gloria Cooper imparts a straight-ahead comping approach to Gershwin on her piano, playing block chords reminiscent of Red Garland's support for Miles Davis.

Breyer-Grell's durable alto is well-suited to the Gershwin ballads like "Someone to Watch Over Me. She sings the introduction very effectively over Hart's delicate chording. The remainder of the band dissolves, with Jim Rotundi's round open-bell trumpet. The title piece begins to throw the listener a bit of a curve, with an unexpected and intricate delivery on the part of the singer and group. Gershwin intended this song to almost jerk in its propulsion forward, and Breyer-Grell captures this perfectly.

I've Got a Crush on You is delivered with an insistent momentum not usually applied to this ballad. John Hart and bassist Dan Johnson squarely ground the piece rhythmically, giving the longing ballad a playful bite. "But Not for Me is not that of Chet Baker. Don Braden gives an extroverted yet constrained introduction into Breyer-Grell's extremely slow-paced delivery. The vocalist staggers the verses of "Embraceable You and "Our Love is Here to Stay in one of the more inventive performances of either standard this writer has ever heard. It is a perfect ending to a near-perfect recording.


Track Listing: Somebody Loves Me; Nice Work If You Can Get It; Someone to Watch Over Me; Fascinating Rhythm; I've Got a Crush on You; Who Cares?; But Not for Me; I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise; Love Walked In; How Long Has This Been Going On; Let's Call the Whole Thing Off; They All Laughed; Embraceable You/Our Love Is Here To Stay.

Personnel: Melody Breyer-Grell: vocals; Gloria Cooper: piano; Dean Johnson: bass; Matt Wilson: drums; Bon Braden: saxophone; Jim Rotundi: trumpet; John Hart: guitar; Kahlil Kwame Bell: percussion.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Rhombus Records | Style: Vocal


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Jazzin' Around Christmas" CD/LP/Track Review Jazzin' Around Christmas
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 8, 2016
Read "Cantos Invisíveis" CD/LP/Track Review Cantos Invisíveis
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 11, 2016
Read "The Garden of Equilibria" CD/LP/Track Review The Garden of Equilibria
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 29, 2016
Read "Mt. Crushmore" CD/LP/Track Review Mt. Crushmore
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 8, 2017
Read "Natural Perception" CD/LP/Track Review Natural Perception
by Edward Blanco
Published: September 5, 2016
Read "Day By Day" CD/LP/Track Review Day By Day
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: January 16, 2017

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!