All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

196

Spider Saloff: Like Glass

By

Sign in to view read count
To borrow a reference from the Gestalt Theory, sometimes the sum of the parts is different from the whole. This unexpectedly pleasurable album is a fine example. Mind you, there's nothing wrong with the sum of the parts at all, but they fit together like a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle.

Chicago-based jazz singer Spider Saloff already has a considerable reputation as the host of NPR's Words & Music, including an appreciation of the music of George Gershwin. In addition, she is a five-time winner of the prestigious MAC Award, which is the cabaret industry's equivalent of the Academy Award. In addition to numerous appearances on other radio and TV shows, this is her sixth release.

This album is a bit different in that instead of working solely with songs from the Great American Songbook, Saloff provides three originals and an obscurity from Johnny Mercer, as well as some well-chosen standards.

The unusual makeup of the group greatly contributes to the album's success. Guitar, bass, violin, and Latin percussion provide a stimulating partner to Saloff's vocals. Several of the tunes are played at a different tempo than is customary, like the usually staid "Street of Dreams" or the typically balladic "Right As The Rain," with De Oliveira's Latin percussion providing an infectuous and percolating backdrop. The guitar work of Steve Ramsdell is a wonder throughout this session; he plays in a number of styles and his solos display clean articulation and ideas. Violinist Zach Brock gets an early touch of the Reinhardt-Grappelli effect without really trying, and I would have liked to have more of that.

Spider Saloff's opening original, "You Better Watch Yourself With That One," is somewhat misleading. It's a sensual, smoky cabaret type tune that the singer insinuates just perfectly, but it's not what the album really represents. The title tune begins as a ballad and picks up steam along the way. Saloff provides the long-lost lyrics for the Ray Brown/Steve Allen piece "Gravy Waltz." When was the last time you saw that on a new album? It was a crossover pop hit in 1963, primarly due to exposure on the Allen TV show. Throughout songs like this, Saloff uses scatting and some vocalese to embroider the material, without taking any of the compositions beyond a mainstream setting. An unusual up-tempo treatment of "Nature Boy" is followed by a well-delivered low-key "Detour Ahead," and the disc closes with a delicious duet with Steve Ramdsdale's guitar on "Deep In A Dream."

Ten years ago, it would have been necessary to visit the Chi-town out-of-print music stores to find Saloff's five previous albums. Nowadays, all one has to do is visit Spider Saloff on the web.


Track Listing: You Better Watch Yourself With That One; Street Of Dreams; Right As The Rain; Like Glass; Gravy Waltz; The Turn Around (Smada); I'll Never Be The Same; Satan's L'il Lamb; Nature Boy; Detour Ahead; Deep In A Dream.

Personnel: Spider Saloff: vocals; Steve Ramsdell: guitars; Kelly Sill: bass; Zach Brock: violin; Geraldo De Oliveira: percussion.

Title: Like Glass | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Kopaesthetics

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read 1538 CD/LP/Track Review
1538
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Love Wins CD/LP/Track Review
Love Wins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 19, 2018
Read 1538 CD/LP/Track Review
1538
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Mutt Slang CD/LP/Track Review
Mutt Slang
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Prisma CD/LP/Track Review
Prisma
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Jazz Tango CD/LP/Track Review
Jazz Tango
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read "Alive" CD/LP/Track Review Alive
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 16, 2018
Read "Criss Cross" CD/LP/Track Review Criss Cross
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 22, 2018
Read "Duduka Da Fonseca Trio Plays Dom Salvador" CD/LP/Track Review Duduka Da Fonseca Trio Plays Dom Salvador
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 8, 2018
Read "Returnings" CD/LP/Track Review Returnings
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 13, 2018
Read "Toy Tunes" CD/LP/Track Review Toy Tunes
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 16, 2018
Read "Basement Sessions Vol. 4 (The Bali Tapes)" CD/LP/Track Review Basement Sessions Vol. 4 (The Bali Tapes)
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 28, 2018