Amy Cervini – Digging You Digging Me – Anzic Records ANZ 0034, 44:24 *****:
(Amy Cervini – vocals; Bruce Barth – piano; Jesse Lewis – guitar (1,3,8,10,); Matt Aronoff – bass; Matt Wilson – drums; James Shipp – percussion and vibes (4, 10); Anat Cohen – clarinet (1, 3, 4, 8, 10); Jeremy Udden – alto sax (1,3,8,11); Avishai Cohen – trumpet (1, 3, 7, 8, 10); Josh Simon – baritone sax (1,3,4,8); Jennifer Wharton – bass trombone (1,3,8); Yair Evnine, Robin Kodheli, Yoed Nir, Jessie Reagan, Alex Waterman – cello (13); Oded Lev-Ari – arrangements.
Amy Cervini released Digging You Digging Me, her third and by far best album yet. It is a tribute, paying homage to jazz vocalist and pianist Blossom Dearie. No, Amy is not a sound-alike but gives a very creditable performance of songs Blossom sang. I love the story-telling style of Blossom for which she was noted and drew from composers who were outstanding in this genre of music such as Cole Porter, Dave Frishberg, Bob Dorough and others. Amy has a wonderfully clear warm alto voice with excellent enunciation. She basically trained up as an instrumentalist on classical piano, then alto-saxophone and literally accidentally broke into becoming a vocalist. She auditioned for the New England Conservatory in Boston. The judges asked if she could sing, and she blew them away with her rendition of “Bye, Bye Blackbird.” Amy actively tours and has played many of the jazz venues in New York such as Birdland, The Jazz Standard, Blue Note and many more. Amy is grounded in jazz and her swinging touch to her vocals is wonderful and she reaches out further in jazz for her ideas and performances that connect her to old and new jazz.
Digging You Digging Me has the very essence of Blossom Dearies’ performances. I have heard the recording of Blossom Dearie singing “My Attorney Bernie” and heard in person Dave Frishberg sing and accompany himself on piano on his song and Amy does a very creditable performance that is most enjoyable. A favorite of mine sung by Amy is the “Doodlin’ Song,” on which Amy is outstanding. No credit was given to the background singers which I assume were band members who were excellent. At the end of the album she sings the mysterious, head scratching, what was he thinking? song “Figure Eight” by Bob Dorough. I say this because every time I have heard the song, that was my thought and I have to smile because he is such a wit. The cello quintet on this was very beautiful. Earlier in the album was the hauntingly beautiful song from Michel Legrand and others who collaborated, “Once Upon a Summertime” that brings out Amy’s clear and honest voice. There is much humor both dark and good in Digging You Digging Me along with some just great swinging. The playing of a number of the musicians are known to me and this is a top class album. The musicians and Amy meld together so very well.
The recording is excellent and clear. The album was released in a nice colorful cardboard sleeve cover with adequate liner notes, and very good photography.
TrackList: 1. Everything I’ve Got; 2. I Like You, You’re Nice; 3. Rhode Island; 4. May I Come l Come In?; 5. My Attorney Bernie; 6. Hey John; 7. Down with Love; 8. Once Upon a Summertime; 9. Doodlin’ Song; 10. I’m Shadowing You; 11. Tea for Two; 12. The Physician; 13. Figure Eight.
A Texas singer-songwriter’s legend lives on with this journey of personal discovery and anecdotal cleverness.