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There is evidence of a revival of vocalese jazz singing in the recent releases of Dorian Devins's The Procrastinator (Self Produced, 2013) and Suzanna Smith's Halfway Between Heaven & Love (Ink Pen Records, 2013). Enter Edmonton-native Judith Pinto Coy, who, while not contributing her own vocalese transcriptions, interprets those of the masters masterfully. On her debut Here's to Life, Coy interprets Jon Hendricks' treatments of Thelonious Monk's "Monk's Dream" and Miles Davis' "Four" and Oscar Brown, Jr's take on Tommy Turrentine's minor blues waltz "Long as You're Livin'" with great spunk and gusto. With this enthusiasm, Coy approaches each conservatively, establishing herself as thoughtful and attentive to the task. Coy's naturally smooth intonation coupled with her easy delivery make the songs sparkle. Pianist Andrew Glover provides just the seasoning to enhance both Coy's tonal palette and engaged approach. There is a relaxed precision in Coy's singing.
The vocalese pieces only account for three of the ten songs on the recording. To Coy's beautifully cautious credit, she resists covering the well-trodden standards, getting no more familiar that the pair of Hoagy Carmichael gems "Skylark" and "The Nearness of You" treating both with grace and respect...and, gratefully, not too much of either. Coy mashed up songs in "To Music/The Sound of Music" and "I've Grown Accustom to Your Face/Waltz for Debby," weaving the song pairs together with intelligence and awareness that draws parallels within each pair. Coy stands in the scariest spot for any singer: at the beginning, after having jumped. Here's to Life is a solid beginning to what should prove to be a fruitful career full of imagination turned kinetic and original compositions marked with comfort and familiarity.
Track Listing: Wouldn't It Be Loverly; Monk's Dream Skylark; Long as You're Living;
Here's to Life; Vie en Rose; To Music/The Sound of Music; I've Grown
Accustomed to Her Face/Waltz for Debby; Four; Nearness of You.
Personnel: Judith Pinto Coy: Vocals; Andrew Glover: Piano; Wes Caswell: Bass;
Sandro Dominelli: Drums; Bob Tildesley: Trumpet.