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All too often jazz singers think that "covering" popular music means singing old Broadway hits from the '20s, '30s and '40s. Sure, these songs were popular once and many of them may even still be popular today, however the "truly" popular music genres of today (as evidenced by the Billboard chart listings) are rock and R&B songs released during the past 30 to 40 years. Christy Baron demonstrates on Take This Journey, her third album for Chesky Records, that the music doesn't have to be old to be considered popular in and for the jazz arena. With Take This Journey, Baron proves that the music of the "rock era" can, in fact, be included on a collection of tunes released by a jazz vocalist.
For those unfamiliar with Christy Baron, a look into her background will easily explain how and why Baron has chosen to deliver a CD that reaches outside of the usual jazz vocal sphere. Baron began her career as a cabaret singer and pianist while at Carnegie-Mellon University. After moving to New York, she began performing in piano bars while working as an actress and singing commercial jingles. Soon she began to win roles on Broadway, television, and in independent films. As a result, her career in cabaret and in the piano bars took a backseat to her acting career. In 1996, she signed with Chesky Records and recorded her debut album, I Thought About You. A second album, Steppin', followed in 2000. By singing and performing such a diverse musical repertoire (all the while being exposed to so many different musical influences), Baron has succeeded in merging, or rather, melding, her cabaret and pop (piano bar) song inventory. The songs chosen for her albums seem to be a direct result of her influences in cabaret, the piano bar and as a Broadway actress.
This is never more evident than in her choice of an album-opening tune. "Happy Together" was a huge hit for the Turtles in the '60s and Christy nails it, setting the tone for the rest of this fine CD. Baron also pays her respects to the great Carole King by including "Bitter With The Sweet," "First Day In August" and "Stand Behind Me." The album also contains a cover of Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed." Broadway hits and the songs of the '20s, '30s and '40s are not forgotten. Tasteful interpretations of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd classic "Not While I'm Around" as well as Frank Sinatra's "That Old Devil Moon" fit in nicely. While each of these well-chosen songs is performed ably (and could easily anchor the collection), the album's highlight, hands down, is Christy's rendition of "A House Is Not A Home."
This isn't your usual vocal jazz album. It's much more and would be an excellent addition to any collection.
Track Listing: 1. Happy Together (Bonner/Gordon) - 2:57
2. Gentle Journey (Finck) - 4:20
3. Not While I'm Around (Sondheim) - 3:47
4. I'm All Smiles (Leonard/Martin) - 3:46
5. A House Is Not a Home (Bacharach/David) - 5:45
6. Bitter With the Sweet (King) - 2:23
7. That Old Devil Moon (Harburg/Lane) - 3:52
8. The Lies of Handsome Men (Blumenthal) - 3:52
9. You Are There/Why Did I Choose You?
(Frishberg/Leonard/Mandel/Martin) - 5:07
10. The Way He Captured Me (Finck) - 4:20
11. Overjoyed (Wonder) - 3:52
12. Stand Behind Me (King) - 3:22
13. First Day in August (King/Larkey) - 3:10
Personnel: Christy Baron - Vocals
David Mann - Flute, Saxophone
Paul Bollenback - Guitar
David Finck - Bass, Arranger, Producer, Liner Notes, Musical Direction
Graham Hawthorne - Drums
Norman Chesky - Executive Producer
David Chesky - Producer
Aldo Sampieri - Art Direction
Lisa J. Marks - Project Director
Lisa Hershfield - Production Assistant
Barry Wolifson - Engineer
Rick Eckerle - Engineer, Session Coordinator
Nicholas Prout - Editing, Mastering Engineer