For this recording songbird Amy Cervini drops ever so lightly upon songs on the theme of love. The sources are as varied as Jack Johnson and Depeche Mode, covering a broad spectrum of genres, styles and periods. The opener, "Bye-Bye Country Boy," recalls a sophisticate's brief pastoral dalliance. It's a tune that others are rediscovering now that Blossom Dearie, the previous owner, has passed on. Cervini's soprano is of firmer stuff than Dearie's, though her clarity and lyric touch are no less deft. Here she is solidly supported by Joel Frahm on tenor saxophone.
In sharp contrast is "Sad Songs and Waltzes," a Willie Nelson tune on which Cervini spins endearingly around the dance floor in country style. The bruised romanticism of "Good Riddance" could easily have been something Judy Collins or James Taylor Quartet would have done in the 1960s; that is until pianist Michael Cabe and drummer Ernesto Cervini effectively heat up the nostalgic mood and the singer begins to swing wordlessly with them. The title track tangos off into yet another direction altogether with a knowing, hand-on-hip delivery. "Quand Je Marche" provides seduction in the French style with some scatting airily thrown in. For a what-do-you-make-of-this moment, there's Nellie McKay's "I Wanna Get Married" with its avant-garde or reactionary line of the year: "I wanna get married / That's why I was born."
A special treat in this potpourri is a previously unrecorded gem from pianist Fred Hersch, "Lazin' Around." Cabe takes a long solo and meanders beautifully through the engaging melody. Cervini glides along with him smoothly on an impressionistic tune sure to be picked up by others before long. It's a gem.
Track Listing: Bye-Bye Country Boy; Upside Down; Sad Songs and Waltzes; Good Riddance; Lovefool; Quand Je Marche; I Wanna Get Married; Enjoy the Silence; Lazin' Around; Comes Love; Lonely Highway; The More I Go Out.
Personnel: Amy Cervini: vocals, melodica, handclaps; Michael Cabe: piano, Rhodes, background vocals; Mark Lau: bass, background vocals; Ernesto Cervini: drums, percussion, handclaps, accordion, background vocals; Joel Frahm: tenor saxophone; Marty Ehrlich: bass clarinet; String Nucleus: Earl Maneein: violin; Matt Szemela: violin; Jon Weber: viola; Jessie Reagen: cello.
The first jazz record I received
as a visiting gift from my
Japanese uncle at his
international division of
Toshiba EMI Tokyo was a
sample copy of Miles Davis'
Bitches Brew. A game
changer redirecting my
browsing habits and collection.