2

Heather Masse & Dick Hyman: Lock My Heart

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Vocalist/songwriter Heather Masse received her didactic training at the New England Conservatory of Music and her practicum on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion. Her academy training was in jazz vocals, but her practical experience reflects more folk- flavored fare. Her previous recording, Bird Song (Red House, 2009), was a well- received collections of folk originals, solidifying Masse's folk bona fides established with the wildly popular Wailin' Jennys. Her voice is user friendly, neither over-practiced nor hyper-informed by her education. She is comfortable in her voice. It was inevitable that Masse would return to jazz in the studio, only a matter of time.

That said, only a most impeccable talent could have been tapped for Masse's jazz disc. Not some flashy pianist like the late Oscar Peterson nor an impressionistic player like Brad Mehldau; no, neither of those would do. What Masse's talent and vision requires is an equally informed and experienced musician who could bring a broad horizontal knowledge of jazz piano...and she found that in Dick Hyman. As a mainstay in the music for 60 years, Hyman is proficient in every jazz piano style and brings exactly the skills set necessary for a Heather Masse recording of standards.

From the outset, this recital is something out of the ordinary. First, Masse is liberal and permissive with her treatment of the material. However, that is not to say that she is reckless. Quite the opposite: Masse's superb training has enabled her to bring out the commonalities in music, from the doo wop in "Since I Fell For You" to the stride-blues extravaganza of "Our Love Is Here To Stay." Hyman easily falls into the groove and even guides Masse empathically through these songs, a coalescence of musical vision and sound.

Masse's voice is perfectly natural and fresh—lush and supple. She is neither married to the melody nor has the compulsion to show off vocal fireworks. She is relaxed as opium and honey, yet is as exacting as a mathematical equation. Her treatment of Kurt Weill's "September Song" and "Lost In The Stars" reveal Masse's soft touch for difficult material. It does the same for Hyman's playing, which is as impressionistic as it is expressionistic. Hyman can simply play anything...well. He gives Cole Porter's "Love For Sale" a barrel-house flavor with a walking left hand. His solo is all 1960s soul jazz crossed with James P. Johnson. Masse belts it out with a commanding sexuality and aplomb.

Lock My Heart is a beginning...a beginning of a survey Masse will be making expertly through the Great American Songbook. To think that this is all there will be from the jazzy Heather Masse is unacceptable.

Track Listing: Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered; Lullaby of Birdland; Since I Fell for You; Love is Here to Stay; September Song; Lost In The Stars; Love for Sale; If I Called You; I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good; A Flower is a Lovesome Thing; Morning Drinker; I’m Gonna Lock My Heart (And Throw Away the Key).

Personnel: Heather Masse: vocals; Dick Hyman: piano.

Title: Lock My Heart | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Red House


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Hybrid" CD/LP/Track Review Hybrid
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 28, 2017
Read "No Parking Any Time" CD/LP/Track Review No Parking Any Time
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 12, 2017
Read "The Roc" CD/LP/Track Review The Roc
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 28, 2017
Read "Dancing Our Way To Death" CD/LP/Track Review Dancing Our Way To Death
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 16, 2016
Read "Déjà Vu" CD/LP/Track Review Déjà Vu
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 20, 2017
Read "Speechless" CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.