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The lady, Melissa Sweeney, has a voice, warm, rich-toned, mature; and she had a childhood that sounds like heavena "record fiend" mother who provided her with the sounds of Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Nat King Cole, MJQ, Ella, Anita O'Day; and then a tender-age job at KBIG-FM jazz station in Los Angeles and the access to thousands of promo copies of jazz LPs. A voice, a feeling for the history of jazz, and the savy/good fortune of hooking up with pianist Bill Cunliffe as arranger/producer of her debut disc, Golden Thread.
The set opens with "You're My Thrill," lushly-arranged, with a Lady in Satin atmosphere. The arrangements on Golden Thread alternate between classy string treatments including "You're My Thrill," to a jazzier piano/bass/drums trio with great horn solos on several tunes, including the marvelous rendition of Joni Mitchell's "Sex Kills", with the Rob Lockart's saxophone smoldering around Sweeney's telling of Mitchell's dark tale.
"My Baby Just Cares" has the sparer arrangement, an insouciant bounce, the trombone dancing with Sweeney's vocal in front of the sparkle of Cunliffe's piano work. Hoagy Carmichael's "Skylark" rolls along in a relaxed mode, with drummer Joe La Barbera providing some beautifully subtle brushwork.
The set has standards, a Brazilian sound (the Jobim/Gilberto tune "Vivo Sonhando"), French lyrics ("Pavane"), and first-rate pop songs ("Sex Kills and Paul Simon's "Where I Belong"), wrapped in classy arrangements with a gorgeous voice out front.
Track Listing: You Are My Thrill, My Baby Just Cares. Golden Thread, Sex Kills, I Have Dreamed, Skylark, Pavane, Sweet Lorraine, Viva Sonhando, Why Don't You Do Right, Where I Belong
Personnel: Melissa Sweeney--vocals; Bill Cunliffe--piano and arrangements; George Bohanon--trombone solo; Joe La Barbera--drums; Derek Oles and Tom Warrington--bass; John Chiodini--guitar; Paulino DaCosta--percussion; Ricky Woodard, Rob Lockart, Bob shepard--sax solos; John Yoakum, Brian Scanlon--woodwinds; John Mascon--French horn; Peter Kent--concertmaster; Amy Schulman--harp
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.