The fact that Carol Fredette's CD is going to be a rare treat is suggested by its very first track, the lesser-known Cole Porter gem, "I Am in Love." As arranged with ingenuity and class by bassist/producer David Finck (who also wrote the wry title track), this jubilant samba makes one thing clear from the jump: that this high-level group swings like crazy, but in the cool and masterful way that doesn't require knocking over the furniture.
There are other happy surprises in this excellent session, including memorable solos from Michael Davis's trombone on the opener, and David Mann's sax on "No Sad Songs for Me" and "This is Always" (to which Fredette supplies the definitive ending). There's also an obvious reverence for lyrics and stories that is increasingly rare, given the growing emphasis on the hyper-athletic vocal at the price of meaning and words.
Fredette's delivery is refreshingly direct and expressive throughout; her warm alto conveys the wit and calm of the fully-formed grown-up who knows whereof she sings. Some tunes are enhanced by their rarely-heard verses, providing fresh context for old favorites, while others are just long enough to make the lyrical point, giving it greater impact than a more extended playfest could provide. For example, the poignant "It's Good to Be Alive" (from the 1957 Broadway musical, "New Girl in Town") clocks in at barely two minutes, but powerfully conveys the triumph that awaits after the hard lessons have been learned; with Fredette's serene singing over Andy Ezrin's exquisite piano, it's a lingering highlight of the CD. So is "To Love and Be Loved," which features Finck's rich arco and eloquent solo, and evokes the gentle waves of Rio.
Lest this sound too subdued (given the CD's title), there's also great fun to be had, as when Irving Berlin meets Havana nights in the rocking "The Best Thing for You," and Fredette reveals the liberation of "Havin' Myself a Time," and the band takes the news to town.
In sum, this is the ideal CD for listeners who are weary of the usual Moon/June/Disneyland approach to loveas well as those three-hanky balladsbut are still passionately in the game. The music on No Sad Songs for Me will also delight anyone who appreciates vocal jazz at its highest level and in its most conducive setting.
I Am In Love; No Sad Songs For Me; The Best Thing for You; To Love And
Be Loved; You’d Better Love Me; Double Rainbow; You’re Getting to be a
Habit With Me; Havin’ Myself a Time; This is Always; Dancing In The
Dark; Long Ago and Far Away; You Better Go Now; No Regrets.
Carol Fredette: vocals; Helio Alves: piano (1, 7, 11); Dario Eskenazi:
piano (4, 5); Andy Ezrin: piano (2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14); David
Finck: bass; Kevin Winard: drums, percussion; David Mann: saxophones,
flutes; Tony Kadleck: trumpet; Michael Davis: trombone; Bob Mann: