Denine Monet comes up with a bird theme for her maiden album. Since I'm not into Ornithology, I have a hard time making the connection between each song and the bird in question. You'll have to buy the album and try it yourself.
Monet, like many of her contemporary vocalists, has a cast of thousands on this album, some playing exotic percussive instruments, which is fine given the theme. This is unlike singers of yore who, once they got a rhythm section they liked, stuck with them for a while. Here the cast constantly changes depending on the track. One result of this game of musical chairs is less continuity and flow from tune to tune. Nonetheless, there are very good tracks here. These are the ones without affectation and extraneous noise. One is a blues based, sometimes down and dirty rendition of Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments" with lyrics by Mark Murphy. Monet runs off some solid scatting and speaking in tongues wordless vocalizing on this track backed by the rhythm section of Frank Martin, Will Kennedy and Joel Smit. Bringing off the bench one of the visiting instruments, the cello, which along with Monet's languid vocalizing creates a feeling of lethargy for "Lazy Afternoon". Feathered creatures come into play as the opening on a haunting, intense "Stalking" with Martin's avant gardish piano helping to create a dreamy aura. Monet adds balance to the session with a relatively straightforward but cleverly constructed medley of "You Go to My Head"/"There Will Never Be Another You". There's a dubbed Vocalese duet with herself on "Fly, Lady Bird"/"Half Nelson".
Monet has a very pleasant voice. In fact, she has several pleasant voices. This album is an adventure and recommended. Visit Denine at her Internet location at www. deninemonet.com.
Track Listing: Night in Tunisia; Estate (summer); Medley: You Go to My Head/There Will Never Be another You; Firelight; Medley: Fly, Lady Bird/Half Nelson; Like a Whistle; Steal Away; Stolen Moments; Lazy Afternoon; Mystery; Stalking; Bird Alone
Personnel: Denine Monet, Will Flash*, Kenny Washington** - Vocals; Frank Martin, Russell Ferrante - Piano; Will Kennedy - Drums; Stan Poplin - Bass; Joel Smith, Gary Brown - Electric Bass; Steve Erquiaga, Mimi Fox - Guitar; Ellen D. Sanders, Jami Sieber - Cello; Darol Anger - Violin; Celso Alberti - Udu/Shaker; Jesus Diaz, Marquinho Brasil - Batas/ Shekeres; Tommy Kesecker - Marimba; Jim Norton - Bass Clarinet; Louis Fasman - Trumpet; Wayne Wallace - Trombone; Mary Fettig, Barbara Christmann - Flute
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.