Song Stylist Lyn Stanley completes her Moonlight Sessions
with Volume 2
. This present offering follows only a few months after the release of her well-received The Moonlight Sessions, Volume 1
(A.T. Music, 2017), capping her project with a collection of carefully selected, well-covered standards, with a couple of surprises. Stanley's three-part creative paradigm, started with Volume 1
is continued and completed here. Stanley aimed to: one, reestablish a measure of audio fidelity (analog) to recording and playback; two, reassert the Great American Songbook as the gateway to understanding the history of jazz; and three, redefine what a "song stylist" is. She has largely accomplished this, while still offering something beyond these creative vectors: a deeply intimate consideration of iconic life songs.
The disc opens with a perfect Stanley vehicle, "Makin' Whoopie." She give the standard a spot-on sardonic reading that smolders with experience and humor. Hendrik Meurkens' harmonica provides just a slippery enough slope to send the song into the stratosphere. Stanley's romantically-charged, wistful reading of "That Old Feeling" segues nicely into the first surprise, "Summer Knows" from the film, Summer of '42
(Warner Bros., 1971). This pairing is a slick bit of programming deserving attention. The second such diptych involves the other surprise, Janis Ian's 1974 single "At Seventeen" from her album Between The Lines
(Columbia). This is Stanley's most daring and inspired inclusion in this recital and she sings the song with a sepia nostalgic charge that makes the piece fit with the rest of the set list. Juxtaposed against the almost sheer darkness of "Angel Eyes," the two songs give ready evidence to Stanley's command of her repertoire and direction.
Critic's Note: Anno Domini
2017, marks the 100th Anniversary of recorded jazz, deftly noted by the release of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band's shellac "Dixieland Jass Band One-Step (A)/Livery Stable Blues (B)," Victor 18255, recorded February 26, 1917 and released March 7, 1917. Just for perspective, in 1917, my father was 18 months old and my mother was yet to be born for two years. It is also the twentieth anniversary of me writing for All About Jazz
. The first recording I reviewed for the magazine was Art Pepper's San Francisco Samba
(Contemporary, 1997), published December 1, 1997. I am using this present review as part of a series noting my twentieth anniversary with the magazine and paying special tribute to my fellow writers at All About Jazz
and Publisher Michael Ricci.
Makin’ Whoopee; The Very Thought of You; That Old Feeling; Summer Knows; Over The Rainbow; How Deep is the Ocean; Angel Eyes; At Seventeen; You’ve Changed; Smile; Love Me or Leave Me; How Insensitive; Since I Fell for You; I’ll Be Seeing You.
Lyn Stanley: vocals; Mike Garson: piano; Christian Jacob: piano; Tamir Hendelman: piano; Chuck Berghofer: bass; Ray Brinker: drums; Bernie Dresel: drums; Joe LaBarbara: drums; Luis Conte: percussion; John Chiodini: guitar; Chuck Findley: trumpet; Rickey Woodard: tenor saxophone; Bob McChesney: trombone; Hendrik Meurkens: harmonica.