233

Jennifer Lee: J-Walkin'

By

Sign in to view read count
Jennifer Lee: J-Walkin'
From the first note of this debut album, one can't help but be smitten with the charm and delivery of this San Francisco-based singer. I would expect that such an effort would be worthy of a jazz chanteuse on the order of Susannah McCorkle or another San Fran singer, Weslia Whitfield. The album was produced by guitarist Peter Sprague, a personal favorite during the late '70s and '80s. I wasn't surprised to find seven Sprague albums in my collection on Xanadu, Concord and Nova. Jennifer Lee is a late-in-life jazz singer who has studied with Kitty Margolis. She is also the house vocalist at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in San Francisco.

As a pianist-vocalist, Lee has put together a good mix of standards, some originals and two Brazilian tunes. What is striking is the warmth and clarity of her voice, reminiscent of the June Christy-Chris Connor school of jazz vocals. On three of the tunes – the title tune penned by Sprague, "Baltimore Oriole," and "November in the Snow" from Bill Mays/Mark Murphy – she scats in perfect unison with her own piano solo, the accordion of Rich Kuhns and the tenor sax of Tripp Sprague. The result is a delightful musical experience that I've only heard from Dena DeRose, another talented pianist-singer. "Note to my Niece," a Lee original, is a latter day "Waltz For Debby." The Brazilian entries, "Chega de Saudade" and the lesser known "Rosa," coupled with Debussy's "Claire de Lune," are both sung effectively in Portugeuse. Frank Loesser's "Inchworm," not heard too frequently these days, is given an interesting reading replete with a spoken word "rap." The session closes with an original instrumental, "Cathy's Song," written for an ailing friend.

The remainder of the album, "Blue Skies," "Night and Day," "I'm Old Fashioned" and "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone," could have been given a tired presentation inasmuch as they've been heard so often, but Jennifer Lee gives these songs a respectively bright or reflective treatment.

All of the musicians chosen for this date play an important part ranging from Sprague and Magnusson's support to the fine tenor sax work of brother Tripp Sprague, subtle percussion from Lewis and Aros, and atmospheric accordion work from Kuhns. I don't know when Ms. Lee will be appearing in the NYC area next, but I do hope that I can be there too.

Track Listing

Blue Skies, Night and Day, I'm Old Fashioned, Jaywalkin', Note to My Niece, The Inchworm/ Inchworm Rap, Rosa/Clare de Lune, Baltimore Oriole, November in the Snow, Chega de Saudade, Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone, Cathy's Song

Personnel

Jennifer Lee, vocals, piano on "Cathy's Song; Peter Sprague, guitar; Bob Magnusson, bass; Tommy Aros, percussion; Trip Sprague, tenor sax; Rich Kuhns, accordion; Jason Lewis, drums

Album information

Title: Jaywalkin' | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: SBE Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read HH
HH
Lionel Loueke
Read Secrets & Lies
Secrets & Lies
Jakko M. Jakszyk
Read Dominos
Dominos
Chuck Anderson
Read Ceremonie / Musique
Ceremonie / Musique
What Happens In A Year
Read Hypnotized
Hypnotized
Jason "Spicy G" Goldman
Read Molecular
Molecular
James Brandon Lewis

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.