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Listen to Jackie Ryan's voice and consider this: how important is it to you that vocal jazz come from the heart?
Ryan’s latest release proves that nothing works better on your soul than the real thing. With three teams of top-rate West Coast sidemen and welcome appearances from several key guests, Ryan’s straight-ahead program settles in with a charm seldom seen in today’s crowded singer’s market. She’s genuine.
Slow ballads, gentle bossa novas, and swinging romps give the program a sense of variety. Ryan’s creative interpretations expand upon that concept and provide adventures for the listener. She sings “Estate” in Italian with a gentle bravado that few singers can relate convincingly. Ryan draws upon her lifelong experiences to provide us with the true message. Later, she sings “Anos Dourados” in Portuguese with a soothing air that’s made to fit Jobim’s relaxed mood to the letter. Her emotional pleas warm the heart.
In English, her sassy presentation sparks a swing fling and much toe-tapping pleasure. “When I Grow Too Old to Dream,” for instance, carries a memorable force that takes you back to the days of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. This message sweeps through seventy years of swing and jazz, as Ryan’s eclectic program proves fruitful. Pianist Jon Mayer and guitarist Barry Zweig complement her interpretation of “When I Grow Too Old to Dream.”
Toots Thielemans and Ernie Watts add substantial fuel to the argument that This Heart Of Mine should sit high on this year’s top ten list.
Ryan’s husband, Bart Plateau, makes several appearances, as does trumpeter Allen Smith. It’s the vocalist’s up-tempo interpretation of “Come Back to Me” and “Lover, Come Back to Me” that highlights her strength in the area of hot straight-ahead jazz. Smith, Mayer, drummer Omar Clay and bassist John Witala surround Ryan with warships and fighter-bombers. The fight is on, and there’s no doubt about who wins.
Personnel: Jackie Ryan- vocals; Amina Figarova, Jon Mayer, Leonard Thompson- piano; Ruth Davies, Darek
Oles, John Witala- bass; Omar Clay, Jason Lewis, Roy McCurdy- drums; Bart Plateau- flute; Allen
Smith- trumpet; Ernie Watts- tenor saxophone; Steve Erquiaga- guitar on
Jazz is a creative explosion of individual freedom and communication.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was a kid. My father had a music store.
The best live performance I ever attended was Kenny Garrett in Harlem, New York.
The first jazz record I bought was Saxophone Colossus by Sonny Rollins.
My advice to new listeners is keep listening!