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April Hall: Fun Out of Life

Jim Santella By

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The songs that April Hall has selected for Fun Out of Life contain an emotional pull that combines with memories from nearly a century of heart throbs and goose bumps. These songs send a chill down the spine simply because they're favorites and because each one contains a message that shines through comfortable musical elements.

Hall treats each selection with carefully chosen instrumentation, coloring each with appropriate hues. "You Must Believe in Spring" evokes a Spanish classical setting as guitarist Jon Damian accompanies the singer in a slow-moving dance. "Foolin' Myself" adds two saxophones to the piano trio to give Hall a traditional, New Orleans appeal, while "Please Send Me Someone to Love" carries out a purebred gospel scene with tenor saxophone and piano trio kickin' it in.

Originally from Florida, Hall demonstrates roots that are tied to the Deep South: a sincere blues feeling, an emphasis on telling stories through song, and a dedication that gets her all wrapped up in what she's interpreting. No wonder she earned the Louis Armstrong Performance Award while she was at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Her most expressive venture comes with a gospel-drenched interpretation of "Please Send Me Someone to Love." Offered with tenor saxophone and piano trio, Hall's rendition oozes warmth and a genuine love for the song's message.

Similarly, she interprets "I'm a Fool to Want You" slowly with piano trio and opens her heart to its power. Billie Holiday, Sheila Jordan, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Frank Sinatra each gave that song a touch of class; here, Hall delivers with honey-coated phrases that melt gracefully while she upholds the tradition.

Closing with her title track, she adds baritone saxophone and guitar to the piano trio for a swinging party. "When we want to sing, we sing / When we want to dance, we dance," she sings, to remind her audience that the music embarks on a journey that refreshes and revitalizes. April Hall is having fun all right, and it's contagious.

Track Listing: I

Personnel: April Hall: vocals; Joe Mulholland: piano; Kenny Hadley: drums; Mark Poniatowski: bass; Jon Damian: guitar (4, 12); Tom Hall: tenor saxophone (2, 3), baritone saxophone (3, 12); Amadee Castenell: tenor saxophone (7), flute (6).

Title: Fun Out of Life | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Bee Boy Records

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