Connye Florance has done commercials, hosted a PBS educational series, and has been the voice of the "WB" for many Warner Brothers jingles. She's sung background for Elton John and Tammy Wynette. An active movie career has seen her with parts in the feature movie "The Client," the made-for-televison "Proud Heart" and a major role in "Existo" which created a lot of interest on the independent film maker jazz festival circuit. Florance has also toured with rock/pop diva, Jennifer Holliday.
But it is singing that holds the main place in her heart. On this, her maiden album, Florance not only includes a mixture of standards, original and pop tunes, but treats the listener to a variety of singing styles. Diversity is also the name of the game when it came to selecting the musicians to be with Florance for this session. Drummer Bob Mater has a country background, Charlie Chadwick on bass does New Age, and during his long career, percussionist Tom Roady has performed with such assorted stylists as Marie Osmond, Percy Sledge, Wayne Newton and Bela Fleck. Along with pianist Kevin Madill, this group appears on all the album's tracks. They are joined on selected cuts by either saxophonists Roger "Rock" Williams or Doug Moffet, trombone player Barry Green or Rod McGaha on trumpet. All fit in comfortably with whatever interpretative style Florance has chosen to use as she moves through the play list. Her own "Dance with Me", is done with a Brazilian beat wrapped in a smooth jazz cover. "The Awakened Heart" is pure contemporary pop, while "Who Will Buy" is mainstream jazz, kicked off with a clever interplay between McGaha's trumpet and Florance, with Mater's snare driving them. "More", the theme from the film "Mondo Cane", gets a straightforward jazz treatment from Florance, with a beguiling trumpet solo from Rod McGaha. "It Could Happen to You" gets that Latin-Rock beat which seems to be a favorite of singers these days. I find this style a bit too frantic for my tastes, especially when applied to such music as this classic Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Burke tune.
Florance is a good singer with an attractive, compelling voice. If jazz sprinkled with some pop and a bit of rock is your bag, you certainly will enjoy this album.
Tracks"Love Walked In;Dance with Me;Turn My Heart;More;Everything Must Change;My Favorite Things;The Awakened Heart; Isn't It a Pity;Midnight, Moonlight, You;Who Will Buy;For all We Know;It Could Happen to You
Personnel: Connye Florance -Vocals; Bob Mater - Drums; Charlie Chadwick -Bass; Kevin Madill - Piano; Tom Roady - Percussionist; Roger "Rock" Williams - Soprano/Tenor Saxophone; Doug Moffet- Sax; Barry Green - Trombone; Rod McGaha - Trumpet
I love jazz because it swings.
I was first exposed to jazz in Houston.
I met Joe LoCascio and Bob Henschen.
The best show I ever attended was Pat Martino.
The first jazz record I bought was Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
My advice to new listeners is to relax on 2 and 4 beats.