9

Monika Ryan: Windmills

Edward Blanco By

Sign in to view read count
Monika Ryan: Windmills
Jazz vocalist Monika Ryan has recorded a series of albums as leader since 2000 with the sensuous and audacious Windmills, a tribute to the lyrics of composers Alan and Marilyn Bergman, one of her latest projects. Voicing a repertoire of beautiful love songs and ballads, Ryan caresses the lyrics of each song with a measure of emotion and taste making for a vocal jazz album that's a pleasure to hear often.

Supporting her crisp vocal instrument are a septet of musicians anchored by a rhythm section of keyboards, bass, guitar and drums accentuated by lead players on the sax, trumpet and trombone, altogether establishing a musical background perfect for highlighting her talents as a songstress of note.

Though there are moments of swing on this session, make no doubt about the texture of the music, this is a genuine album of light jazz that appeals to the lighter side of one's musical DNA. Opening up with a creative arrangement of the title-track and time-honored standard "The Windmills of Your Mind," Ryan voices a haunting slow introduction to the song that eventually picks up to become a medium-tempo burner with Keith Loftis on the soprano saxophone, Nick Rolfe on the keyboards and guitarist David O'Rourke as featured soloists.

One of the swinging moments can be found on the lively rendition of "Cinnamon and Clove" as Ryan and the band light up the lyrics on a gyrating piece of music. The soft and mellow sound returns on the familiar classic "The Summer Knows," followed by a perkier "I Have the Feeling I've Been Here Before" and another warm version of "Moonlight." The singer and keyboardist Rolfe deliver and intimate take in a beautiful duet on the gorgeous love ballad "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life," while the Alan Bergman song made so popular by Sergio Mendes in 1968 and sung by Lani Hall, "So Many Stars," gets a new treatment featuring trumpeter Brad Goode and Ryan doing a terrific impression of Hall.

The Bergman/ Michel Legrand collaboration on "His Eyes, Her Eyes" works quite well here as Ryan and Rolfe on the piano provide one of the best renditions of the original around as the music comes to a close on the seductive slow-moving finale "Love Like Ours." As tribute albums go, Monika Ryan's Windmills is a homage project that the Bergman's should be proud of. Classical love songs voiced by a superior singer and backed by a top-notch cast of players, makes this vocal jazz album, a must for those who appreciate the genre.

Track Listing

The Windmills of Your Mind; Cinnamon and Clove; The Summer Knows; I Have the Feeling I've Been Here Before; Moonlight; What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?; So Many Stars; Where Do You Start?; His Eyes, Her Eyes; Love Like Ours.

Personnel

Monika Ryan: vocals; Keith Loftis: saxophones; Brad Goode: trumpet; Clark Gayton: trombone; Nick Rolfe: keyboards; David O'Rourke: guitar; Rene Hart: bass; Alvester Garnett: drums.

Album information

Title: Windmills | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Self Produced

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Improdimensions
Improdimensions
Agustí Fernández / Liudas Mockūnas
Read In Baltimore
In Baltimore
George Coleman
Read Escape The Flames
Escape The Flames
Binker and Moses

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.