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Daniela Schachter: Vanheusenism: A Tribute To Jimmy Van Heusen

Dan Bilawsky By

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Anybody who's ever adoringly listened to a large number of Frank Sinatra's hits or Bing Crosby's classics is a fan of Jimmy Van Heusen's work, even if they're not familiar with his name. Van Heusen, working alone or with top notch lyricists like Sammy Cahn or Johnny Burke, penned some of the greatest songs of the twentieth century—vehicles of various style and substance that were often immortalized through one of the two aforementioned voices.

Italian-born pianist-vocalist Daniela Schachter, like many others in the jazz world, has been known to visit a Van Heusen tune or two from time to time. But it wasn't until she was interviewed for a documentary on the legendary songsmith—Jimmy Van Heusen: Swingin' With Frank and Bing—that she began to fully appreciate his catalog. This smart collection of music is the result of said immersion into Van Heusen's world.

Schachter, fronting a quartet, delivers eleven of Van Heusen's most sturdy and reliable hits (and one dedicatory original). But don't expect right-down-the-middle takes on these songs. Schachter is respectful in her interpretations, but they're her interpretations. If you're looking for Sinatra clone takes from a female voice, you won't find them here. Instead, Schachter gives us a different viewpoint, complete with musical twists, both large and small in nature. "Here's That Rainy Day," for example, moves from newly minted balladic beginnings into a waltzing flow before downshifting in tempo and mood. Then there's "Darn That Dream," recast in seven, with a dreamy upward arc in its arpeggiated design; "Come Fly With Me," carried along on a samba-ish current; "All The Way," opening on thoughtful rumination before gaining traction with a smoothly flowing groove in five; and "Call Me Irresponsible," framed here as a slow-turned-motile pas de deux for voice and bass.

Schachter's affection for Van Heusen's music is clear throughout the album, as is her band's affection for her. Tenor saxophonist Mike Tucker proves to be her trusted ally, right at her side, threading thoughtful lines in open spaces, delivering solos that perfectly fit a song's blueprint, and locking in with his fellow musicians. Drummer Mark Walker and bassist Michael O'Brien, in similar fashion, know just what to do to keep these songs moving in the right direction. Schachter knows how to pick her musicians, how to pick her Van Heusen tunes, and how to put an album across. Vanheusenism is a valuable addition to her catalog, and to the legacy of one of jazz's most valued composers.

Track Listing: Here's That Rainy Day; Darn That Dream; Come Fly With Me; Like Someone In Love/Imagination; The Second Time Around; Vanheusenism; All The Way; Polkadots And Moonbeams; It Could Happen To You; Call Me Irresponsible; But Beautiful; I Thought About You.

Personnel: Daniela Schächter: piano, vocals; Mike Tucker: tenor saxophone; Michael O'Brien: bass; Mark Walker: drums.

Title: Vanheusenism: A Tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Self Produced

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