Australia's Janet Seidel continues to work magic on popular songs of the past, many of which have become standards. Like her first volume honoring the art of sophisticated swing and ballad, Seidel chooses to work in small group settings sometimes with sax or cornet added, other times with strings. When the sax is present, it adds a jazzy feel to the music.
There's not a bad track on the album. Each one seems to top the track that preceded it. Seidel and the group are that good. On "Poinciana", tenor sax man Paul Williams sneaks in jazz figures behind Seidel and the strings, creating interesting counterpoint. Another highlight track is "Lonesome Road" where the singer, Maree Steinway's piano and Chuck Morgan's guitar framed by the rhythm of David Seidel and John Morrison beget a bouncy, but as relaxed a version of this tune as one can expect to ever encounter. Seidel's unapologetic admiration of Doris Day is comes through with "Sentimental Journey". But there is no big band cum Les Brown here. Rather, it's another laid back small group rendering, this time bass, guitar and drums. Seidel is the vocal counterpoint of alto saxophonist Paul Desmond who was renown for his comfortable playing style and his respect for the melody line. The closest Seidel comes to vocal gymnastics is on "Slow Boat to China" where the ambidextrous Baker switches to cornet.
Seidel has cut eight albums for the La Brava label. Each are testimonials to her vocal artistry and this one follows in that tradition. Highly recommended.
Track Listing: Poinciana; Lonesome Road; Agua de Beher; Oh How My Heart Beats for You; They Say It's Wonderful; You're a Lucky Guy; It Had Better Be Tonight; Perhaps; Slow Boat to China; Spanish Harlem; Skylark; Always Something There to Remind Me; Button up Your Overcoat; You Belong to Me; Can't We Talk It Over; Sentimental Journey.
Personnel: Janet Seidel - Vocals/Conductor; Col Nolan, Maree Steinway, Kevin Hunt - Piano; Chuck Morgan - Guitar; Paul Williams - Tenor Sax/ Clarinet; Tom Baker - Tenor Sax/Cornet/Vocals; Ben Jones - Alto & Tenor Sax/Vocal; David Seidel - Bass; Billy Ross - Drums; Ian Bloxsom - Percussion; John Morrison - Drums/Percussion; Mirka Rozmus, Rebecca Daniel, Michelle Kelly, Anne-Louise Comerford; Rachel Valentine - Strings
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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