San Francisco Bay Area jazz vocalist Lisa Lindsley, unveils her second album Long After Midnight, conceived during a year-long stay in Paris and inspired after nights spent along the Seine commercial waterway and in various Parisian Cafes. Her career change to Europe was not exactly her direct choice but rather, a request from her high school daughter who wished to pursue studies in France providing the singer with an opportunity to experience and partake in the rich musical environment that Paris had to offer. This album takes advantage of the musical network and regular gigs Lindsley had the good fortune to perform in.
Offering a repertoire of jazz standards, music from the Great American Songbook and familiar Pop tunes, the album delivers a good variety of music that is bound to please everyone. When deciding to record in Paris, Lindsley availed herself of the talented jazz artists the city had to offer and so, three of the quartet musicians are natives of the city like pianist Laurent Marode, drummer Mourad Benhammou and reed player Esaie Cid. The vocalist asked her regular bassist Jeff Chamberswho had often previously performed in Paristo join the band for this effort and in a two-night session, the group recorded fifteen songs of which, twelve comprise the selection heard here.
The date begins with the title track, one of two songs from French composer James Wilson, where the songstress high-pitched vocal style is in full display followed by a brief rendition of the Gene de Paul classic "Star Eyes" also featuring the fine flute of Cid on a stellar tune that's far too short. Irving Berlin's "Heat Wave" allows the singer to show us a swinging side complete with pounding drum solos from Benhammou making this song, one of the livelier pieces of the set. Iconic composers Rogers and Hammerstein would have been pleased by Lindsley's charming treatment of their classic "My Favorite Things," accompanied well by pianist Marode.
The singer's sultry side is evident, coming to the fore with a sensuous Marilyn Monroe-styled performance on the familiar "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" aided superbly by well-placed tenor saxophone phrasings from Cid and excellent work on the keys by the pianist on one of the more, jazzed up and memorable versions of the classic. When was the last time one heard Donovan's Pop tune, "Mellow Yellow" transformed into a jazz tune? Well Lindsley and the band do so here and it's quite appealing.
There are other highlights here worth more than a sample but the album ends with a bonus and medley of two oft-recorded gems, "When You're Smiling / Pennies from Heaven" where the singer performs a duet with the drummer, ending the song with the French-enhanced statement "Super Cool," somewhat appropriate actually. A truly sultry singer who captures the evening mood with gusto, Lisa Lindsley casts a musical spell on Long After Midnight, voicing beautiful love songs from the city for lovers, for the lover in all of us.
Long After Midnight; Star Eyes; The House Is Haunted; Heat Wave; Skylark's Song; I Walk A Little Faster / Manhattan; My Favorite Things; Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend; Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me; Mellow Yellow; The Surry With The Fringe On Top; When You're Smiling / Pennies From Heaven.
Lisa Lindsley: vocals; Laurent Marode: piano; Jeff Chambers: bass; Mourad Benhammou: drums; Esaie Cid: clarinet, tenor saxophone, flute.