The heart always remembers, but so too do the ears. Vocalist Sandra Marlowe, probably aware of that fact, quickly grabs attention by demonstrating a real métier for metric play and gymnastics on pianist Larry Dunlap's witty, album-opening arrangement of "Fascinating Rhythm." Once that focus is on her work, Marlowe doesn't let up. In short order there's a balladic "When Did You Leave Heaven?" which dials things down (and offers some space to bassist Dan Robbins), a waltzing take on Sting's "Practical Arrangement" showcasing the singer's well-paced emotional arc(s), and a full-on embrace of touching and tender jazz-pop with Robin Hambey's "In My Arms." By the time the program arrives at Dunlap's Brazilian-influenced look at the Bee Gees' "Too Much Heaven," it's clear that Marlowe knows how to hold her own in plenty of spaces.
Originals and clever medleys make up most of the balance of the program, with Fran Landesman and Tommy Wolf's snazzy yet light-hearted "Nice Weather For Ducks" acting as the only performance which doesn't slot into any of those categories. Marlowe offers three self-penned selections, sending out the fiery and down-home "Corner Store Blues," the calming bossa-based "A Sweet Wind" and the moving title track; Dunlap delivers two for the road, contributing his intimate "So Quiet Is The Night" and upbeat, samba-strutting "Let The Music Take You" at the album's end; and compositional mergers make for good bedfellows in different places, made clear through the flowing-turned-sunny "Whistling Away The Dark/Anyone Can Whistle" and sly "Trav'lin All Alone/Travelin' Light." Cooking up a baker's dozen of treats with help from Dunlap, Robbins, drummer Jason Lewis and a few one-time guests, Marlowe truly makes her voice carry.
Fascinating Rhythm; When Did You Leave
Heaven?; Practical Arrangement; In My Arms;
Corner Store Blues; A Sweet Wind; Nice
Weather For Ducks; Whistling Away The
The Heart Always Remembers; Trav'lin All
Alone/Travelin' Light; So Quiet Is The Night;
Let The Music
African Jazz Beyond Jazz Big Band Blues Brazilian Classical Dixieland / New Orleans / Swing Electronica Free Improv / Avant-Garde Fringes of Jazz Funk / Groove Fusion / Progressive Rock Hot Jazz Jam Band Latin Lounge / Exotica Modern Jazz R&B / Soul Straight-ahead (Bop, Hard bop, Cool) Vocal