Not to be confused with lounge singer Janet Seidel, Janis Siegel has framed her volume of the Great American Songbook as an "unabridged" pulp novel. Unfortunately, some of it should have been abridged. The album opens with an over-faded version of "Old Black Magic," skims along the musical waves of "My Ship," gets caught in the title track and then tries a change with a frilly and trilly "Change Partners." However, it is not until the misogynistic blues of "I Just Want To Make Love To You" that the story really picks up. Though Siegel admits to having "no clue how it would turn out," this Willie Dixon cover is one of the album’s strongest pieces. After getting down n’ dirty, Siegel’s lighter fare gains contrast and the album gains interest.
Though the tepid "Too Darn Hot" is again too darn long, her maternal tribute of "How Deep Is The Ocean?" dives back into real feeling. Siegel’s "Dreamsville" duet with guitarist Russell Malone is gentle and harmonic-ous and her query into "How Long Has This Been Going On" elicits a "little wow" indeed. The lighthearted ultimatum of "Tulip or Turnip" and the two-tune/two-tone theme of "the Strayhorn/Mercer combo "All Roads Lead Back To You/I Thought About You" finish the set with a represetnative setof contrasts. Though it may take a few chapters to come to appreciate noteworthy characters like Michael Brecker and Hank Crawford, their story ends well and is worth a read or two.
Track Listing: 1. That Old Black Magic
2. My Ship
3. (Love Is) The Tender Trap
4. Change Partners
5. I Just Want to Make Love to You
6. Too Darn Hot
7. How Deep Is the Ocean?
9. Touch of Your Lips
10. You Bring Out the Lover in Me
11. How Long Has This Been Going On?
12. Tulip or Turnip
13. All Roads Lead Back to You/I Thought About You
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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