All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Anna Callahan: My Ideal

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
There aren’t many musicians who can do as many things as well as Anna Callahan. And she’s young and pretty too! Callahan not only sings and plays trumpet and flugelhorn, she wrote or co- wrote five of the eleven songs on her debut album, My Ideal, and arranged them all.

If I say I’d rather hear her play the trumpet than sing, that’s not meant to disparage her vocal talents — I’d say the same about Chet Baker or even Louis Armstrong. The truth is, however, that I hear too much Diana Krall in Callahan’s coquettish singing style, and while she’s nowhere near Krall in terms of name recognition, she’s right alongside her better-known contemporary when it comes to provocative poses, as a glance at the album’s booklet and tray card will affirm.

I’m far more impressed by Callahan’s trumpet playing, which draws its inspiration from Baker and Bobby Shew, among others, and especially her songwriting, which is well above what one usually hears from newcomers these days. The tunes are charming, and the lyrics to four of the five actually make sense (the other, “O Woe Is Me,” is essentially ludicrous, with such rhymes as “no more to see your cautious eyes and laughing hair” and “no more to taste your smile so fair” that sound as though they were dropped in simply because they matched the meter and Callahan was unable to come up with anything more creative).

As a singer, Callahan, who has taught vocal jazz at Cal State University-Los Angeles, is artfully seductive and smooth as butter but I wish she’d resisted the urge to transpose “hideaway” into “hi-e- i-e-hide-away-ay” on “My Romance.” She has enlisted a first-class backup crew in guitarist Barry Zweig, bassist Rick Shaw, drummer Jamey Tate and especially pianist Karen Hammack who deserves an album of her own. Callahan deserves another album too, but next time with more trumpet and less voice please.

Contact: [email protected]; phone 310-463-6432.

Track Listing: My Ideal; I

Personnel: Anna Callahan, vocals, trumpet, flugelhorn; Karen Hammack, piano; Barry Zweig, guitar; Rick Shaw, bass; Jamey Tate, drums.

Title: My Ideal | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Angharad


comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
My Ideal

My Ideal


My Ideal

My Ideal



Related Articles

Read "Sabiduria/Wisdom" CD/LP/Track Review Sabiduria/Wisdom
by James Nadal
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "LifeCycle" CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "My Picture" CD/LP/Track Review My Picture
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 13, 2017
Read "The Last Sense To Leave Us – A Tribute To Pauline Oliveros" CD/LP/Track Review The Last Sense To Leave Us – A Tribute To Pauline...
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 10, 2017
Read "Mercerville" CD/LP/Track Review Mercerville
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 31, 2017
Read "Recent Developments" CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017