For her 16th album Patti Austin has decided to go with one of those you can't go wrong with it albums. A fine singer in her own right, Austin pays tribute to perhaps the quintessential female jazz singer of all time, Ella Fitzgerald, with a selection of 12 tunes, 11 of which are immediately associated with Fitzgerald. The one exception is the original "Hearing Ella Sing". Recorded live in Cologne, Germany and backed by the very large, and very good, WDR Big Band augmented by a 22-member string section, Austin shows a similar vibrancy, zest and unfailing sense of swing that made Fitzgerald's renditions of such up tempo tunes as "Too Close for Comfort" and "How High the Moon" quite special. Austin also treats the listener to that wildly controlled scatting that only a singer of Fitzgerald's artistry could pull off. To make sure that this album, while honoring the great lady of song, is simply not just a clone of what Fitzgerald used to do, Austin does a much blues inflected rendition of "Miss Otis Regrets" than one would hear from Fitzgerald. On ballads such as "But Not for Me", the large string section comes into play. One of the many splendid tracks on the album "The Man I Love" which Austin does with just Frank Chastenier's piano as backing. This recalls Fitzgerald's seminal recording sessions with such notable keyboard accompanists as Tommy Flanagan, Ellis Larkins and Jimmy Rowles. Make no mistake about it, Patti Austin does not try to be Ella Fitzgerald and that's good. This means she can do her own thing with songs that were Ella's which allows her to pay homage to the great lady of song and show her own unique talents at the same time. This album is likely to make many a list of top jazz vocal records in 2002. It's also likely to encourage many to revisit those Fitzgerald albums in their collections. Recommended. Visit Austin's Internet home at www.pattiaustin. com.
Track Listing: Too Close for Comfort; Honeysuckle Rose; You'll Have to Swing it (Mr. Paganini); Our Love Is Here to Stay; A Tisket a Tasket; Miss Otis Regrets; Hard Hearted Hannah (The Vamp of Savannah); But Not for Me; Satin Doll; The Man I Love; Hearing Ella Sing; How High the Moon
Personnel: Patti Austin - Vocals; Patrick Williams - Conductor/Arranger; Frank Chastenier - Piano; John Goldsby - Bass; Paul Shigihara - Guitar; Gregg Field - Drums; Andy Haderer, John Marshall, Rob Bruynen, Rick Kiefer, Klaus Osterloh - Trumpet; Heiner Wiberny, Harald Rosenstein, Olivier Peters, Rolf Romer, Jens Neufang - Saxes; Dave Horler, Ludwig Nuss, Bernt Laukamp - Trombone; Lucas Schmid - Bass Trombone; 22 piece string section
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.