Stephanie Nakasian, who has been recording since the 1980s, has released an ambitious tribute to those singers she calls the "Great Ladies of Jazz." On Thrush Hour, the vocalist tries to connect to each of twenty female vocalists, going back as far as Bessie Smith.
Arranged in more or less chronological fashion, the album is almost like a compilation of the years in which these singers made their respective marks upon the world of vocal jazz. The contributions of Nakasian's septet are invaluable in establishing the settings on Thrush Hour, providing the feel of a post-War Swing sessionand even earlier, for the material from vocalists including Bessie Smith ("A Good Man Is Hard To Find") and Ethel Waters ("Guess Who's In Town").
Nakasian is finely detailed in her recreation of the styles of vocal performances including Betty Roche's 1952 bebop take on "Take the 'A' Train," with the Duke Ellington Orchestra and the Anita O'Day-isms on "What Is This Thing Called Love." She also seems to have a knack for blues numbers like Helen Humes' "Million Dollar Secret" and the opening "A Good Man Is Hard To Find," both of which feature the band riffing behind her.
What is, perhaps, most interesting, is the omission of singer Maxine Sullivan as one of the "honorees" on this album, since Nakasian's style seems to come closest to the her. Although crediting "A Hundred Years from Today" to Lee Wiley and "Goody Goody" to Helen Ward, the influence of Maxine Sullivan on these songs seems more apparent. Nitpicking, perhaps, but the only fly in the ointment on this fine tribute.
Track Listing: A Good Man Is Hard to Find; Guess Who's In Town; Rockin' Chair; A Hundred Years From Today; It Don't Mean A Thing; Lullaby of the Leaves; Goody Goody; All Of Me; What Is This Thing Called Love; Moments Like This; Take The "A" Train; Day Dream; I Cried For You; Maybe; Too Late Now; Peel Me A Grape; Blue Gardenia; Street of Dreams; All That Jazz.
Personnel: Stephanie Nakasian: vocals; Hod O'Brien: piano; Randy Sandke: trumpet; Tom Hamilton: tenor sax; John Jensen: trombone; Howie Collins: guitar; Steve Gilmore: bass; Bill Goodwin: drums.
Year Released: 2007
| Record Label: V.S.O.P. Records
| Style: Vocal
I love jazz because it expresses things so deep that I can't transform in words.
I met John Pizzarelli.
The best show I ever attended was MASP in São Paulo Brazil.
The first jazz record I bought was a Baby Dodds CD.
My heroes on drums: Papa Jo Jones, Sid Catlett, Gene Krupa, Baby Dodds, Zutty Singleton, Ray Bauduc, Vernell Fournier,
Shelly Manne, Jimmy Cobb, Joe Morello, Daniel Humair, Kenny Clarke, Sonny Carr, Buddy Rich, Sam Woodyard, Cozy Cole,
Sonny Greer, Neil Peart, Carl Palmer, Tony Sbarbaro, Vic Berton, Edison Machado, Milton Banana, Rubens Barsotti.
My heroes in jazz: Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Chet Baker, Miles Davis, Ahmad Jamal, Coleman Hawkins, Teddy Wilson,
Barney Kessel, Lester Young, Johnny Hodges, Jelly Roll Morton.