Amanda Carr is a Boston-based jazz vocalist who performs at Foxwoods Casino and Fleet Center and sings the national anthem at Fenway Park. She has two earlier albums, has worked with the Benny Goodman Tribute Orchestra and the Artie Shaw Band, and headlined the Euro Jazz Festival in San Giorgio, Italy.
This outing finds Carr with the John Wilkins Trio, further assisted by several reedmen and trumpeters throughout the album. The thirteen tunes are very well-chosen, with a good eye on just the right touch, mixing the known items from the Great American Songbook with some obscurities. "That Old Devil Moon" and Jobim's "No More Blues" are probably the best known.
Carr begins with the highly underappreciated "Never Will I Marry," from a 1960 Frank Loesser musical. She visits Rodgers and Hart's "Do It The Hard Way," which reminded me of Chet Baker's Riverside version from the late '50s. Likewise, she includes a nicely turned version of the Billie Holiday-associated "Foolin' Myself" and the upbeat Ellington "Tulip or Turnip." More and more, jazz singers seem determined to present their versions of Abbey Lincoln's "Throw It Away," and Carr doesn't disappoint with her take on the tune.
The supporting trio does quite well, guitarist John Wilkins providing both comping and fills with effective rhythm support from bassist Bronek Suchanek and drummer Kenny Hadley. Per a rather complex schedule, there is also support from three saxophonists, including the regarded Dick Johnson on clarinet and alto sax, Arnie Krakowsky and Jerry Vejmola on tenor sax, plus Rick Hammett on trumpet on eight songs. Their respective solos provide a lift on the up-tempo selections and add to the mood of the ballads. Other than the brassy sound towards the end of "Never Will I Marry," I enjoyed Tender Trap and look forward to Amanda Carr's next venture.
Track Listing: Never Will I Marry, (Love Is)The Tender Trap, I'll Close My Eyes, Do It The Hard Way, What We Were Asking For, Tulip Or Turnip, I'll Never Be The Same, That Old Devil Moon, Throw It Away, I Couldn't Live Without You, Foolin' Myself, What Am I Here For, No More Blues(Chega de Saudade).
Personnel: Amanda Carr,vocals; John Wilkins,guitar; Kenny Hadley,drums; Bronck Suchanek, bass with Dick Johnson, clarinet, alto sax (What Am I Here For, Do It The Hard Way); Rick Hammett, trumpet (Throw It Away, Foolin' Myself); Arnie Krakowsky, tenor sax (Tulip or Turnip, I'll Close My Eyes); Ernie Santosuosso, gong (Throw It Away), Jerry Vejmola, tenor sax (Never Will I Marry)
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.