Sunday, April 19, 2009

BACK IN STYLE

Lately, Hilary, various jazz record labels and publicists have bombarded me with new albums by female jazz vocalists that I’ve never heard of. Are female jazz vocalists the latest trend? Ten years, ago Max Jazz put out a series of good albums by female singers, but I haven’t from much about the record label since. I hate being unaware of new trends. Save for “Haunted Heart,” your new album, most of the offerings I’ve received were dull at best. I won’t diva hate by saying names. Their recordings were overwrought. One vocalist, for example, used an orchestra. The orchestra drowned her. She had a wonderful voice. The songs she chose fit her voice, but the album needed heavy editing. That wasn’t the case at all with “Haunted Heart”.

After I listened to “Haunted Heart”, I rummaged through my album collection for vocalist Sheila Jordan’s albums, especially her debut recording for Blue Note Records “A Portrait of Sheila,” which remains my all time favorite album by a jazz vocalist. Blue Note released it four decades ago. It was her only record for Blue Note.

I’m not lying, Hilary. I still get goose bumps jazz when I think about Jordan’s album. I’m not kidding. Did Jordan influence you? Your conversational phrasing is akin to Jordan. I mean as a compliment, Hilary. Some jazz musicians hate comparisons. I don't like to pit one musician against and other. I couldn’t help myself.

“Haunted Heart” was the first time I heard you. I’ve played the album often since your publicist sent it to me. Every morning last week, for example, I awoke with your whisper sweet voice humming in my ears. In the grocery store, at the gas station, and at the bank I caught myself humming the chorus of “What’ll I Do” and “Deed I Do”, two memorable standards on your album.

Hilary, your album was perfect. You made smart choices. You did overload “Haunted Heart” with tricky arrangements and unnecessary instrumentations. You rhythm section was not rambunctious at all. They sound as if their parents reared to accompany vocalists.
Hilary, I could spend hours listing what I liked about “Haunted Heart”, but that would monopolize too much of your time so I’ll end by stating this: On “It’s Love” and “Like a Lover,” I wanted to jump inside the album and slow dance with you.

Like a secret, I wanted to keep “Haunted House” all to myself. However, like a hot piece of gossip, I’ve told my friends about the album. I even spread the word to my friends that dislike vocal jazz albums. I guaranteed if they gave your album a shot your singing would change their negative views of jazz singers. I’m elated you made this album. I’ll ask around if in fact, female jazz vocalists are trendy again.
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