Catherine Russell – Bring It Back [TrackList follows] – Jazz Village JV579001 [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] (2/11/14) ****:
Diane Schuur – I Remember You (With Love to Stan and Frank) [TrackList follows] – Jazzheads JH1209, 51:59 (6/10/14) ****:
(with Alan Broadbent, p.; Ben Wolfe, bass; Ulysses Owens Jr., drums; Roni Ben-Hur, guitar; Joel Frohm, saxes; Romeo Lubambo, guitar on 2 tracks)
Catherine Russell has four CDs already out on this label, but I’m just discovering her. She’s joined by a dozen sidemen on this session, and she wrote the horn arrangement for “Aged and Mellow,” and plays percussion on the tracks 6 and 10. Pianist Mark Shane is a standout and B-3 organist Glenn Patscha plays on three of the 13 tracks on the disc.
The tunes range from soul-influenced numbers such as the opener and album title, thru Great American Songbook tunes like “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart,” to jazz standards such as the closing “I Cover the Waterfront.” Generally they come from the jazz age thru the swing era. Russell is very big in France, where she earned both the Prix du Jazz Vocal and the Grand Prix du Hot Club de France. This is a versatile singer who can reinvent many of the tunes and is always in tune and doing just the right thing to make every song work.
TrackList: Bring It Back; I’m Shooting High; I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart; You Got To Swing and Sway; Aged and Mellow; The Darktown Strutters Ball; Lucille; You’ve Got Me Under Your Thumb; After The Light Go Down Low; I’m Sticking With You Baby; Strange as it Seems; Public Melody Number One; I Cover The Waterfront.
Diane Schuur, known as “Deedles,” is getting better every album she does. This CD is devoted to compositions and tunes previously recorded by her two early mentors: Stan Getz and Frank Sinatra. During her 30-year career she has become every bit the graceful and in some ways more subtle singer than she used to be. By age 60 she’s picked up a most effective scat-singing style on the way. The blind singer really pays very close attention to the lyrics and you may get some meanings out of them that you had never thought of before. She also doesn’t try to mimic either the style of Sinatra or any of the amazing solos that Stan Getz played, but she delivers these 11 songs with plenty of enthusiasm and a most swinging approach that will captivate any listener. Alan Broadbent’s terrific arrangements and the all-star band help the whole thing along; both these albums make the usual vocalist-and-piano album sound rather lame. With names like Cole Porter, Michael Legrand, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Jimmy Webb and Hoagy Carmichael, these tunes can’t fail even they weren’t made famous by Getz and Sinatra. The whole production is a winner.
TrackList: S’Wonderful; Nice ‘n’ Easy; Watch What Happens; I’ve Got You Under My Skin; How Insensitive; Here’s That Rainy Day; Didn’t We; I Remember You; I Get Along Without You – Don’t Worry Bout Me; The Second Time Around; For Once In My Life.