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Might as well get right to the point. This is another (her second) superb offering by the Pennsylvania denizen, vocalist/pianist Donna Antonow. While she continues to use a musical agenda of oft recorded standards, the way she presents them does more than breathe new life, she completely resuscitates them. With a highly attuned sense of timing and phrasing, she works in and around the melody in such a way that makes them appear reborn. Be assured that she is not adopting a bunch of put on affectations in order to be "different". Her style is perfectly legitimate and is what jazz singing is all about, risk taking and extemporization. She takes a standard and for four or five minutes, makes the song her own and when she is finished, the song is better for that experience. And it's not just her singing that achieves this object, but the manner in which she melds both voice and piano. The piano is not a mere adjunct to, but an equal partner in Antonow's interpretations. On "I Got Rhythm" she takes the first vocal chorus with some subtle changes in the melodic structure of the tune which she carries over into her piano bridge. Added fillips on this track are the guitar rendering of Walt Bibinger and a good bass solo by Dave Antonow with Antonow's piano comping underneath. And so it goes with each track offering its own set of pleasurable discoveries.
Antonow still sings with that tinge of R & B, but it is not as pronounced as on her first album. But every now and then the gospel like singing to the heavens comes through. Listen to the South Pacific tune "Happy Talk". But this only adds to this delightful CD. Recommended.
Track Listing: Yes, Sir, That's My Baby; Summer Night; Oh, What a Beautiful Morning; Can't Help Lovin' That Man of Mine; While We're Young; Ain't (He) Sweet; I'm Glad There Is You; Happy Talk; I'll Be Around; I Got Rhythm
Personnel: Donna Antonow - Vocal/Piano; Walt Bibinger - Guitar; Howie Collins - Rhythm Guitar; Dave Antonow - Bass; Tom Sayek - Drums
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.