For her third effort as a soloist, Mid-Atlantic singer Sue Matthews has opted to go with an agenda of standards, show tunes and traditional pop, all of which of she sings with an innate appreciation of intimacy and savoir-faire, mixing some blues inflection and torch where it makes sense. She also has a way about her that gives one a warm, cuddly feeling after listening to her do something like "Down with Love" where she gets a big assist from veteran bassist Keter Betts and long time Washington, D. C. guitarist, Steve Abshire. The same two show up for a rueful, blueful version of "Rocks in My Bed". At the same time, Matthews can wrench at your heart strings with a lovely Stephen Sondheim "Losing My Mind" from Follies. Another heart twister, "Here's to Life" is countered by a folk like "Caledonia" done A Capella showing her Irish roots which is also offset by a down and dirty, Sophie Tucker like "Wild Women Don't Get the Blues". Matthews does all of these wonderful vocal things with on the mark articulation, phrasing that's attuned to the meaning and direction of the lyrics. She has the ability to use her band members to her best advantage. For instance, she hones in on the melodically rich and lyrically tender "My Romance" with strong and equal participation from pianist Stefan Scaggiari as well as trading phrases with guitarist Gerry Kunkel. Because of her willingness to share the song, musicians must like to work with her putting her in a class of vocalists that a Helen Merrill belongs to. This album is highly recommended.
To learn more about Matthews, visit her web site at www.suematthewsmusic.com.
Track Listing: My Romance; On My Way to You; Rocks in My Bed; Down with Love; Here's to Life; Imagine That; Caledonia; Wild Women Don't Get the Blues; How Insensitive; One at a Time; Losing My Mind; Amazing Grace
Personnel: Sue Matthews - Vocals; Stefan Scaggiari - Piano; Keter Betts, Viktor Dvoskin - Bass; Steve Abshire, Gerry Kunkel - Guitar; Frank Russo - Drums
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
Login to your All About Jazz member account to submit articles and press releases, upload images, edit musician profiles, add events and business listings, communicate with other members via personal messages, submit inqueries or contribute any content.