This release is the latest in a series of releases which now total five since Audrey Morris returned to the recording studio and performing at Chicago jazz venues after pausing in her career to raise a family. Always an intimate singer, she has become even more of a minimalist in her delivery. Like Jeri Southern, she can produce so much with so little apparent effort. The play list for this album is perfectly designed to draw attention to her special way with a song. There are some familiar classic standards that are very well done. But more interesting are the long forgotten gems which Morris has revived and burnished. "I Can't Escape from You" from the 1930s which was recorded by Shep Fields (remember old "rippling rhythm"). Then there's "April Played the Fiddle" which Sinatra recorded with Dorsey in 1940. Another lost song from the past "Humpty-Dumpty Heart" introduced by Kay Kyser in the film Playmates and is done with deep poignancy and melancholy. And the list goes on. One song after another is turned into a special story aimed at each listener individually. Another feature is that for many of the tunes, Morris sings the verse which acts as an introduction to a story. More singers should do this.
Morris is comfortably supported by two old friends from Chicago. On previous albums, Morris generally accompanied herself, like Southern, on the piano. Here she limits her piano activity to one cut, "You're Not So Easy to Forget". The rest of the time it's the sensitive piano of Joe Vito which becomes the exquisite wrapping on Audrey's vocal presents. Outstanding jazz violinist John Frigo helps sustain the mood created by this session. He comes out of the background shadows for lovely solos on "Street of Dreams" and "Imagination".
Audrey Morris successfully combines two seemingly irreconcilable emotions, tranquility and passion for a highly charismatic and charming 50 plus minutes of highly individualized vocalizing. The good news is that the albums on her label are available either from Amazon.com or through the Fancy Faire web site.
Track Listing: Imagination; Street of Dreams; I Don't Want to Cry Anymore; April Played the Fiddle; I Can't Escape from You; How Deep Is the Ocean; Humpty Dumpty Heart; Once in a While; Just Imagine; You're Not So Easy to Forget*; Round About
Personnel: Audrey Morris - Vocals/Piano*; Joe Vito - Piano; John Frigo - Violin
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.