183

Jenna Mammina: Under the Influence

By

Sign in to view read count
Now working out of California, but originally from Michigan Jenna Mammina's heroes were the musicians who came from that state, all the Motown artists and Aretha Franklin, Betty Carter, Abbey Lincoln. During her teens she was influenced by Carole King, Jim Croce, James Taylor and Joni Mitchell. Later on she was turned on by artists running the gamut from adventurous rock bands like Yes, Genesis, and especially the Grateful Dead. Eventually, as she matured, she graduated to jazz via John Coltrane, Miles Davis. Yet one hears flickers of those early rock influences in the songs she has selected for this her maiden album. Her program includes pieces by Elvis Costello, Abbey Lincoln, Leonard Bernstein, Sammy Cahn as well as two her own songs.

With its slight nasal quality Mammina's voice is vaguely reminiscent of another outstanding contemporary jazz singer, Stacey Kent. There's also a lightness and delicacy about it that reminds one of Blossom Dearie, less the breathy whispering. Her girl next door results in a style and delivery which can be described as a constant state of wonderment with the feelings she is passing on through the lyrics. In the minds eye, one sees an innocent young lady singing about emotions she is just now becoming aware of. Nowhere is this state more clearly expressed than in the album's coda "The Second Star to the Right" accompanied by Matt Rollings on piano along with violin. The neglected gem, "My One and Only Love", creates the vision of a first experience with something called love, not sure what it means, but intuitively knowing that it is a nice situation to be in which she wants to share with her "one and only love". This version recalls Tommy Flanagan's brittle 1947 recording of this lovely tune. "When I Take My Sugar to Tea" breaks the mold of serious stuff with an up tempo rendering of this musical tea party. Notice how Mammina ends the tune by going up the scale, rather than down. Occasionally Mammina overdoes "cute" to the point where it slips into becoming an affectation, as on her own "Take Back the Night". But this is countered by a shrug of the shoulders rendering of "Some Other Time".

Keeping with the theme of the album, Mammina is joined by an eclectic gathering of musicians who play a variety of acoustic and electrically enhanced instruments, mostly with good effect. Like many of her contemporaries, Mammina favors using different performers throughout the session. I'm never what the point is of this. But it seems to be a common practice these days. There's the usual background vocals and some Mammina over dubbing. It gets a bit murky sometimes as on "Contradictions".

This album will appeal to those who prefer their musical cocktails mixed with a wide variety of ingredients, jazz, pop, rock and adult contemporary. Visit Jenna's Internet site at www.jennamammina.com.

Track Listing: Watching the Detectives; Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight; Pictures and Paintings; My One and Only Love; The Music is the Magic; Throw It Away; I'm Gonna Crawl; Some Other Time; Take Back the Night; When I Take My Sugar to Tea; Contradictions; The Second Star to the Right

Personnel: Jenna Mammina - Vocals; Andr

| Record Label: MGR | Style: Vocal


Shop

More Articles

Read Cross My Palm With Silver CD/LP/Track Review Cross My Palm With Silver
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read One Minute Later CD/LP/Track Review One Minute Later
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 28, 2017
Read JK's Kamer +50.92509° +03.84800° CD/LP/Track Review JK's Kamer +50.92509° +03.84800°
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Ephimeral CD/LP/Track Review Ephimeral
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Fly or Die CD/LP/Track Review Fly or Die
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read Speechless CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "Janus" CD/LP/Track Review Janus
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 1, 2016
Read "Cómo Desaparecer Completamente" CD/LP/Track Review Cómo Desaparecer Completamente
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "Flowers" CD/LP/Track Review Flowers
by John Sharpe
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "With Due Respect" CD/LP/Track Review With Due Respect
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 23, 2016
Read "Waltz About Nothing" CD/LP/Track Review Waltz About Nothing
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 3, 2016
Read "Miniatures" CD/LP/Track Review Miniatures
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 20, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!