Connie Evingson: Let It Be Jazz: Connie Evingson Sings The Beatles

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Connie Evingson: Let It Be Jazz: Connie Evingson Sings The Beatles In my experience, non-pop interpretations of the Beatles? songbook have been dismal at best, suicidal at worst. Part of the problem, I suspect, is one of context. It seems that the Beatles canon does not lend itself readily to differing genre applications. Take for example Telarc?s recent attempt to apply a blues treatment to The White Album : The Blues White Album, while courageous, fell far short of making any serious artistic statement. No, it seems that a finely tuned cultural and musical sense is called for when approaching the music of the Beatles.

That daunting prospect noted, it was sheer pleasure to realize the success that Minnesota-reared vocalist and arranger Connie Evingson had when preparing Let It Be Jazz. After approaching my listening date with this music like a tetanus shot, I was dumbfounded by the style and grace exuded from this recording. Aided by pianist and arranger Mary Louise Knutson, Ms. Evingson applies bossa nova to "From Me to You," tango to "When I?m 64," and swing to "Blackbird." What is offered is a real mixed bag in the best way. Almost every jazz subgenre is represented.

But that does not really begin to describe the ingenuity employed for this recording. "Blackbird" uses Dean McGraw?s electric sitar, giving the song a period relevance while updating it in a defendable way. The introduction has a very eastern quality that gives away to Ms. Evingson scatting the bass (3/4-time) part into a transmogrification of the melody. Evingson sings with confidence and intelligence. Jay Epstein recalls Elvin Jones in the drumming and Anthony Cox pulls off a perfectly balanced bass solo, followed by McGraw on the sitar. The band swings its collective ass off.

The piano/voice duet on "The Night Before" from Help! is very effective, showing that Ms. Evingson is not afraid to take chances. A Hard Day?s Night ?s "Can?t Buy Me Love" sports some seriously cool bass playing and a sultry Evingson to boot. Think Peggy Lee?s "Fever." Knutson?s piano borders on the barrelhouse. "When I?m 64" is given two readings, the first with an accordion over a Caribbean vibe taken at a leisurely pace. The second is considerably faster, primarily employing a clarinet and piano. It is easy to see why both are included. Each is great and necessary to the recording.

Abbey Road ?s "Oh! Darling" receives a Charlie Rich treatment with a full country and western/blues piano. Evingson sings the song like alto Patsy Cline would have. Dave Karr?s tenor saxophone peeks in on this tune and steals the song with his solo. But the coolest part is the ending quote of Neal Hefti?s "Little Darlin?"... sheer genius. "Got to Get You Into My Life" is a strolling adult contemporary gem, thoroughly modern, with Chicago horns and voicings circa 1980 and Dave Jensen?s flugelhorn keeping it all soft. The only bite in this song is the chorus, where Ms. Evingson really leans into the piece.

The final word on the recording: it is so much better than I expected that I am ashamed to have stereotyped it as just another anemic attempt to cover Beatles tunes. Let It Be Jazz is a sure top ten pick for 2003.

For more information, see Connie Evingson and Summit Records on the web.

Track Listing: Blackbird, Wait, The Night Before, Can't Buy Me Love, From Me to You, Fixing a Hole, When I'm 64, I'm Looking Through You, For No One, I Will, Oh! Darlin,' Got to Get You Into My Life, Good Day Sunshine

Personnel: Connie Evingson—vocals; Mary Louise Knutson, Fulton Tashone—piano; Terry Burns, Anthony Cox, Doug White—bass; Jay Epstein, Phil Hey, Marc Rio—drums; Dave Singley, Dean Magraw—guitars; Dean Magraw—electric sitar; Dave karr, Kathy Jenson—sax; Mike Nelson—trombone;Daryl Boudreaux—percussion; Dan Chouinard—accordion

Title: Let It Be Jazz: Connie Evingson Sings The Beatles | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Summit Records


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ask Seek Knock CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Air and Light and Time and Space CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Cub(an)ism" CD/LP/Track Review Cub(an)ism
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 17, 2017
Read "Mirror, Mirror" CD/LP/Track Review Mirror, Mirror
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 3, 2017
Read "Illegal Crowns" CD/LP/Track Review Illegal Crowns
by John Sharpe
Published: December 10, 2016
Read "Left Right Left" CD/LP/Track Review Left Right Left
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 21, 2017
Read "Light Shines In" CD/LP/Track Review Light Shines In
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "And Now the Queen - A Tribute to Carla Bley" CD/LP/Track Review And Now the Queen - A Tribute to Carla Bley
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 30, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.