It would be hard to find more soul on a current CD than you'll get on Mary Ann Redmond's Prisoner of the Heart. Maybe on Solomon Burke's latest, but that's about it. Redmond's voice is an awesome instrument; she can belt it out to shake the walls down ("Since I Fell for You") or caress a lyric like she's petting a cat (her original, "That is All"), on a set that sounds like something out of a late '60's Atlantic Records session, the rawer, more powerful end of the R&B spectrum. Early Aretha, Otis Redding, Wilson Picket come to mind when listening to Mary Ann.
And she writes a fine tune, too: the heartbreaker, "That is All", the slinky title track, "Prisoner of the Heart"; "Ain't it a Shame". Then there's the well-chosen classics: "Since I Fell for You"; a powerhouse version of McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed"; Sam Cooke's "You Send Me", with Mary Ann sounding very Aretha-ish.
The CD walks a line between singer/songwriter fare and out and out R&B, beautifully-produced with a clean, hard-driving sound. Ms. Redmond must be something to see in concert, with her powerful, forthright vocals that glow with a justifiable, look-you-in-the-eye confidence bordering on audacity. Hard to imagine her doing a lot of takes to get the cuts for the CD right. Sounds like she just comes in and blows them down, gets it right the first time through
Under a saner, more adventurous radio airplay situation (the late 60's come to mind again) this album would be culled for three or four hit singles that would pull the album itself right up toward the top of the charts.
Track Listing: Make it Last, Since I Fell for You, Maybe I'm Amazed, Blind to Love, That is All, Prisoner of the Heart, You Send Me, Many Rivers to Cross, Ain't It a Shame, Too Precious, I Can Let Go Now
Personnel: Mary Ann Redmond, vocals; John Jennings, guitar, organ; Leonard Stevens, guitar; Chuck Underwood, guitar; John Ozment, keyboards; Benjie Porecki, keyboards; Al Williams, sax; Gary Grainger, bass; Steve Taylor, bass; Andy ahmburger, drums, percussion; Deren Blessman, drums, percussion; Al Johnson and Tommy Lepson, background vocals
Year Released: 2002
| Record Label: Q&W Records
| Style: Vocal
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.