Manhattan Transfer singers Janis Siegel and Cheryl Bentyne have been responsible for the most durable recordings in the Telarc Jazz warehouse. To date, Ms. Siegel has released or been included on five Telarc releases: Couldn't be Hotter (with the Manhattan Transfer), Got Swing (with Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra), I Wish You Love , Friday Night Special , and now, Sketches of Broadway.
Departing from Tin Pan Alley and jazz standards, Ms. Siegel has prepared an excellent concept recording devoted to the songs of Broadway. These are well-known songs, to be sure, but they are not the war-horses that we have come accustomed to expecting from the jazz vocal community. Not that what Siegel is necessarily doing anything particularly novel. There are scores of jazz artists who have taken on this repertoire. The difference is that Siegel employs progressive arrangers and a no-fear attitude toward her interpretations. Case in point: the singer layers R & H's "The Surrey with the Fringe On Top" with Laura Nyro's "Stone Soul Picnic." Now that is a stretcha brilliant one.
Ms. Siegel combines "Out of My Dreams" from Oklahoma and "I Have Dreamed" from The King and I seamlessly with the aid of pianist Gil Goldstein, who channels the great Gil Evans in more ways than one. The singer rocks out on the Annie Get Your Gun selection "I've Got the Sun in the Morning (And the Moon at Night)," complete with the dirtiest guitar playing allowed in jazz by the axe-welding Romero Lubambo. Stefon Harris provides a decidedly understated solo against Lubambo's electric machinations. Stephen Sondhiem's "The Story of Lucy and Jesse" offers the most ingenious lyrics of the disc, expertly portrayed by the singer.
Another fabulous recording by Janis Siegel. I only hope for many more finely crafted recordings like this one.
Track Listing: Show Me from My Fair Lady; Sorry-Grateful from Company; It's a Woman's Prerogative from St. Louis Woman; The Story of Lucy and Jessie from Follies; Born Too Late from The Littlest Revue; Out of My Dreams from Oklahoma / I Have Dreamed from The King & I; I've Got the Sun in the Morning (And the Moon at Night) from Annie Get Your Gun; The Surrey With The Fringe On Top from Oklahoma / Stoned Soul Picnic It Never Was You from Knickerbocker Holiday; My Best Beau from Mame; 11. Make Someone Happy from Do-Re-Mi.
Personnel: Janis Siegel?Vocals; Gil Goldstein?acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes, accordion; Stefon Harris?vibraphone; Romero Lubambo?acoustic guitar, electric guitar; John Patitucci?acoustic bass, 6-string electric bass; Antonio Sanchez?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.
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