On vocalist Susie Meissner's previous recording, I'll Remember April (Self Produced, 2008), the singer staked out the center of the middle of the road stylistically. Her repertoire was from the most popular sections of The Great American Songbook, dispatched tastefully in her well-balanced high alto. Dedicated to the melody, Meissner is clearly not one given to vocal fireworks, preferring to honor the composer's original intentions.
I'm Confessin' picks up where I'll Remember April left off, adding the expert services of trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and trumpeter Freddie Hendrix. Again, Meissner chooses from the center of the GAS chestnuts she addresses conservatively, with class and grace. Her voice is sturdy around the edges, showing great range, though she prefers to sing from the midrange.
Meissner's highlights are Duke Ellington "Just Squeeze Me" and "I'm Just A Lucky So and So," and Hoagy Carmichael's "The Nearness of You" and "Skylark." Of the songs with less mileage, Meissner gives a grand reading of "Detour Ahead," featuring Hendrix's rounded brass, and "Tangerine," featuring guitarist Paul Meyers.
There will always be a market for this type jazz singinghonest, sincere, and thoughtfully rendered. The benefit of these interpretations is they faithfully present what the the composer was hearing and thinking, a facet best appreciated before taking on the more demanding and inventive vocalists.
Track Listing: Close Your Eyes; I'm Confessin'; I Love You; Just Squeeze Me; I'm Just A
Lucky Son and So; Tangerine; The Nearness of You; How About You;
Skylark; On A Slow Boat to China; Embraceable You; Detour Ahead; Day
by Day; A Time for Love.
Personnel: Susie Meissner: vocals; Wycliffe Gordon: trombone (2, 4,10,11); John
Shaddy: piano (1-4, 7, 8, 11-14); Dean Johnson: bass (1, 3-8, 10-13); Tim
Horner: drums (1, 3, 4, 6-8, 10-13); Greg Riley: tenor and soprano saxophones
(1, 3, 4, 5-8, 10, 12-13); Freddie Hendrix: trumpet and flugelhorn (8, 12, 13); Paul
Meyers: guitar (6, 9, 13).
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total)
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total). He saw an alto sax on my neck and said: Hey, how about you there, would you like to play something for us? I played a piece with the piano. OK, said Lee, how about you play something unaccompanied? Oh yeah! I was deep into transcribing Sonny Stitt and pretty much into playing as fast as possible as many right notes as possible. So I played Oleo in about 300 beats per minute and was very proud of myself. Lee was tapping his foot all the way through. Hmm, he said, that was in time and all that... (I thought - yeah, of course, haha!) and then he said, You've got a lot of quantity, how about quality? It took me 15 years to realize what he meant.