My suggestion for the cover of jazz vocalist Madeline Eastman's next album is a shot of her poised to dive into an uncharted body of water. This is one lady who is not afraid to take chances with existing material and even from note to note. The San Francisco singer has recorded five albums for her own Mad-Kat label—and although I haven't heard all of them, I would venture an opinion that she hasn't lost a step since 1990.
These twelve songs include six from Richard Rodgers (with Hart and Hammerstein). The unusual choices are an old Donny Hathaway song, "Someday We'll All Be Free"; and Jose Neto's "Jogral," presented as a up-tempo samba scat number. Typically, the album begins with the Deitz & Schwartz tune "Alone Together." After an impeccable first chorus, Eastman toys slyly with the melody line, injecting enough variations to make you sit up and take notice. As is the case throughout, trumpeter Mike Olmos adds a solid dimension with accompanied muted obligatos.
The Broadway show tune "Do I Hear A Waltz?" is performed in a decidedly un-waltz-like swing tempo for an interesting take on this under-utilized song. A real coup is accomplished with the Geffen-King pop hit, "Up On The Roof," transformed into a real jazz ballad. The Arlen-Koehler "Get Happy" is given a dirge-like reading that makes an ironical twist on the lyrics, but it doesn't work; and the Rainger-Robin ballad "If I Should Lose You" takes off midway into an up-tempo pace. I rather liked the version of "There's A Small Hotel" in which Olmos echoes her scatted solo with muted trumpet, but "We Kiss in a Shadow" tinkers with some deconstruction that leaves one walking a tightrope, not knowing where the next note will fall.
Eastman is supported here by the aforementioned Olmos, who maximizes his presences on all tracks, plus pianist Randy Porter, percussionist Michael Spiro, and the notable combination of Rufus Reid and Akira Tana on bass and drums. I suspect that a live performance would be an event full of surprise, with the audience not knowing what to expect or even how they'll react.
Track Listing: Alone Together, Someday We'll All Be Free, Do I Hear A Waltz?, Up on the Roof, There's A Small Hotel, We Kiss in a Shadow, Dancing on the Ceiling, Wait Till You See Her, If I Should Lose You, Get Happy, Jogral, Where or When.
Personnel: Madeline Eastman,vocals; Randy Porter,piano; Rufus Reid,bass; Akira Tana,drums; Mike Olmos,trumpet; Michael Spiro,percussion.
Year Released: 2003
| Record Label: Mad-Kat
| Style: Vocal
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet
I was first exposed to jazz in 1961 (at age 10) when I was in a shopping arcade in Southport, England with my parents. I fell in love with the music playing over the PA system; Take Five by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. After going through Rock 'n Roll, the Beatles and Heavy Metal/Hard Rock phases over the next eight or so years, I finally bought my first jazz album; We're All Together Again for the First Time by Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan. I was hooked on jazz, and still am 40+ years later.
I moved from England to the USA in 2002, and founded the Brookfield Jazz Society in 2005.
I became editor of the quarterly IAJRC Journalin 2012. The magazine goes to the worldwide membership of the IAJRC (International Association of Jazz Record Collectors) and many major libraries and educational establishments around the world.
As well as being the editor of the IAJRC Journal, I write about jazz and review CDs, vinyl, DVDs and books on jazz.
Login to your All About Jazz member account to submit articles and press releases, upload images, edit musician profiles, add events and business listings, communicate with other members via personal messages, submit inqueries or contribute any content.