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Janis Siegel has to be the envy of many singers on today's scene. She commands two performing platforms; one as a member of the popular singing group Manhattan Transfer and the other as a soloist which she has been since 1987. Her latest solo release, this time for the Telarc label, is devoted to songs made popular (or almost popular) by other female performers, not all of whom were singers. She is joined by a top rated trio of Cedar Walton, David Williams and Winard Harper who anchor the session. They are also joined from time to timeby the likes of David "Fathead" Newman on tenor, Tom Harrell on trumpet and Bill Ware on vibes.
Sometimes you have to dig deep to recall the female who was connected with each tune. The female associated with "I Want You to Be My Baby" was Lillian Briggs, who supplemented her trombone playing career with a job driving a laundry truck. Siegel is joined on this fun cut by a singing group with another unlikely moniker, Baby Konehead and Her Fatty Tumors. Then there are the Chordettes who made a name for themselves as part of the old Arthur Godfrey show who came up with their biggest hit "Mr. Sandman". I just wish Siegel had seen fit to not make this track such a big production and sang it simply. But it is clever how she interpolates the tune with the other half of the medley, "Dream a Little Dream of Me". One of the wildest tracks is "The Masquerade Is Over" which features Newman's tenor as well as his soaring flute playing and Siegel scatting. Every track is a pleasure to listen to as you remember which lady first sang that song. But this little game does not detract an iota from Siegel's consummate artistry and of those she brought into the studio with her. This is A-one graded stuff.
Track Listing: Just a Little Lovin'; I Want You to Be My Baby; Go Away Little Boy; Mr. Sandman/Dream a Little Dream of Me; The Late Late Show; Don't Go to Strangers; (I'm Afraid) the Masquerade Is Over; Where Are You?; Guess Who I Saw Today?; I Wish You Love; The Big Hurt
Personnel: Janis Siegel - Vocals/Backup Vocals; Cedar Walton - Piano; David Williams - Bass; Winard Harper - Drums; Bill Ware - Vibes; Baby Konehead and her Fatty Tumors, Aaron Franz - Vocals; David "Fathead" Newman - Tenor Sax/Flute; Frank Colon - Wind Chimes/Congas; Roger Treece, Lincoln Briney, - Background Vocals; Tom Harrell - Trumpet /Flugelhorn
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.