2

Peter Appleyard: Sophisticated Ladies

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Peter Appleyard: Sophisticated Ladies Peter Appleyard seems to have a way with the ladies. The octogenarian vibraphonist brings his virile mallet work to bear while escorting a dozen lovely songbirds through some smartly arranged standards on this, his second release the span of a few months. Appleyard started off the year by looking toward the past, issuing a previously unreleased all-star jam session from 1974, but his gaze is firmly on the present throughout Sophisticated Ladies. He hobnobs with some of the finest vocalists operating north of the 49th parallel today and a sense of mutual respect for the music and one another comes through in the music.

While astute jazz vocal fans are probably aware that bassist Charlie Haden beat Appleyard to the conceptual punch, releasing his own Sophisticated Ladies (Emarcy, 2011) a year ahead of Appleyard, the basic format and album title are the only thing that these two releases share. Haden's album mixed instrumental pieces and vocal numbers, favoring slow material containing string sweetening and came off as a mostly-manicured set of music with mellow appeal. Appleyard, on the other hand, shares the stage with a singer on every song, covering a wider range of emotions.

The playlist has no surprises, but Rick Wilkins' arrangements have their fair share. Tempo changes, funk-to-swing shifts ("Love For Sale"), double-time adjustments, Brazilian-tinged turns and intimate introductions ("Smile") keep things interesting. Each singer brings something different to the table and Appleyard responds in kind by shaping his solos around the specific songs and singers. Emilie-Claire Barlow shows great range on the slow-to-fast "After You've Gone," Elizabeth Shepherd engages Appleyard in a scat-vibraphone solo trading session, Jackie Richardson's deeply resonant voice takes center stage on a soulful "Georgia On My Mind," Diana Panton turns the lights down low for "Smile" and Sophie Milman takes her time fleshing out the emotional ideals of "If You Could See Me Now." Molly Johnson, who interprets the title track with her smoky and dusky pipes, proves to be the only singer who seems ill-suited to her number.

The female musicians on this album will probably get the lion's share of attention, but Appleyard has top billing for a reason. His vibraphone soloing enlivens and enhances the music. Guitarist Reg Schwager's comping is a key ingredient in the mix, as pianist John Sherwood takes the right tack on every tune, drummer Terry Clarke expertly navigates the through each number and bassist Neil Swainson keeps everything in check.

Appleyard may be 84 now, but his playing doesn't betray that fact. He's clearly young at heart and Sophisticated Ladies is the evidence that proves this case.

Track Listing: After You've Gone; It's Only A Paper Moon; Love For Sale; Georgia On My Mind; If You Could See Me Now; Sophisticated Lady; Night And Day; Satin Doll; Mood Indigo; Smile.

Personnel: Peter Appleyard: vibraphone; John Sherwood: piano; Reg Schwager: guitar; Neil Swainson: bass; Terry Clarke: drums; Emilie-Claire Barlow: vocals (1); Elizabeth Shepherd: vocals (2); Jill Barber: vocals (3); Jackie Richardson: vocals (4); Sophie Milman: vocals (5); Molly Johnson: vocals (6); Carol Welsman: vocals (7), piano (7); Barbara Lica: vocals (8); Carol McCartney: vocals (9); Diana Panton: vocals (10).

Title: Sophisticated Ladies | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Linus Entertainment


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "American Tunes" CD/LP/Track Review American Tunes
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: July 1, 2016
Read "Blues I Felt" CD/LP/Track Review Blues I Felt
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 15, 2017
Read "No Filter" CD/LP/Track Review No Filter
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 11, 2017
Read "Boston, 1954" CD/LP/Track Review Boston, 1954
by Richard J Salvucci
Published: October 1, 2016
Read "Have Yourself an Alto Madness Christmas" CD/LP/Track Review Have Yourself an Alto Madness Christmas
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 4, 2016
Read "Nuit Blanche" CD/LP/Track Review Nuit Blanche
by John Kelman
Published: February 14, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.