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Vocalist Judy Wexler has already garnered much attention among the All About Jazz family of critics, having been covered by the likes of colleagues Dan Bilawsky and Nicholas F. Mondello. They both remark on the breadth of Wexler's repertoire, which is impressive. Rather than browbeating us with one more collection of songs inhabiting Scott Yanow's moratorium list from his 2008 compendium, The Jazz Singers: The Ultimate Guide (Backbeat Books), Wexler seeks out less heard songs to nudge to the forefront for attention.
Wexler's support is top drawer. Longtime collaborator, pianist Jeff Colella arranges the eleven pieces, giving plenty of space to the principle and her empathic support. Multi-reedist Bob Sheppard obviously never sleeps considering the number of recordings on which he appears, playing bass clarinet and alto flute here. He lends the woody reed to the opening "Tomorrow Is Another Day" and the alto flute on "A Certain Sadness." Trombonist Scott Whitfield winds his way through a breezy "The Long Goodbye."
Wexler's voice is obedient to her master. Wexler has a straight-ahead, no-nonsense alto that colors well within in the lines and out. She is very adept at the casual ballad, like "They Say It's Spring" giving a bright and matter-of-fact delivery that is both poised and friendly. Her talent is one of singing not technical improvisation. Note perfect and well-studied, Wexler has many charms on this fourth recording. Many charms, indeed.
Track Listing: Tomorrow Is Another Day; The Moon Is Made Of Gold; Convince Me; They Say
It's Spring; A Certain Sadness; The Long Goodbye; Just For Now; Follow;
Another Time, Another Place; A Kiss To Build A Dream On; Laughing At
Personnel: Judy Wexler: vocals; Jeff Colella: piano; Larry Koonse: guitar, ukulele;
Chris Colangelo; bass; Steve Hass: drums; Ron Stout: flugelhorn,
trumpet; Bob Sheppard: bass clarinet, alto flute; Scott Whitfield:
trombone; Billy Hulting: percussion.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.