Susan May is equally at home singing show tunes as she is beltin’ out blues in the fashion of early pioneers of the art form. Her strong alto voice and remarkable range are natural tools. What's surprising, however, is the accuracy of her delivery and the convincing authority with which she interprets these favorite songs.
Susan May is only twelve years old, and yet she sounds as if she’s over forty and a veteran of the lifelong wars that enable an artist to relate experiences through song and connect with a listener intuitively. The Rose gives May a wide range of styles to interpret, from mainstream blues and jazz to television pop and theatrical emotion. She proves equally at home with each aspect of the musical world.
Trad jazz, in the form of “A Wink and a Smile,” includes a soul-stirring tuba solo. Through the piece, May sings from the heart with a knowing ear for cohesive ensemble interplay. Her phrasing allows the singer to meld with her partners in a natural manner.
”What the world needs now, is love, sweet love,” sings the chanteuse as she closes the album. Slow and filled with passion, the arrangement brings tears to your eyes. Of her motivation, May says she likes to sing to people because it provides them with something special, something to remember, and something to carry home with them. She says, “If their life isn’t too happy, I like to brighten their day.”
A pretty mature thought for a twelve-year-old.
Highly recommended, The Rose brings out the best from Susan May and her musical partners. Rate this one with a maximum number of stars.
Track Listing: The Rose; When the Sun Comes Out; Embraceable You; Bye-Bye (Theme from Peter Gunn); Feeling Good; Soldier in the Rain; Smile; Blues in the Night; As Time Goes By; A Wink and a Smile; Over the Rainbow; Who Will Buy?; What the World Needs Now is Love.
Personnel: Susan May- vocal; Bobby Schiff- piano; Scott Reed- guitar; Greg Baroni- bass; Rick Vitek, Leon Joyce- drums; Joanie Pallatto- added vocal on
I was first exposed to jazz while working overseas in Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I would listen to the Voice of America on the radio and they had a nightly jazz program on at 10:00pm. I learned a lot about jazz listening to this program. I also had a friend who listened to real jazz by artists like Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy and Archie Shepp. On my way home from Africa I landed in New York and had the opportunity to see the George Adams/Don Pullen quartet at the Village Vanguard as well as Kenny Barron and Ron Carter at another club, and was in heaven.