O.K. I am on record as stating one more female vocalist doing a lame knock off of "Skylark" and you would find me in the length of rope and rickety stool isle in home depot so the first thing I did was check the song list here and we are good!
There are a ton of female vocalists all in a tightly clustered pack and all doing close to the same shtick. These are talented ladies doing standards and with the ability to find pitch.
Enter Sandra Marlowe who doesn't just do a quick standard pick up her check and head to her day job. Marlowe does a riff on a standard and makes it her own. Another amazing feat performed here is that Marlowe doesn't just find pitch she grabs it by the throat. True Blue is a delightful debut offering from Sandra Marlowe and while she does hit some Cole Porter, Fats Waller and Ivan Lins she pushes the envelope with some Chick Corea which I would have loved to have heard even more of the bop influence. Big kudos would absolutely go to arranger/co-producer Larry Dunlap who does some tweaking and reharmonization on some classic melodies but the word mangle would certainly never come up. Dunlap obviously understands he is working with a talent like Marlowe with chops galore.
"Honeysuckle Rose" with a subtle bop infusion is swing the way it should be, real and with a slight edge. Of course when you mesh "Scrapple From The Apple" with the Waller classic you are guaranteed a good time. "A Sunday Kind Of Love" is a personal favorite and Marlowe can pull from a myriad of vocal colors and nuances. Dunlap is a marvelous accompanist and given his talent with arrangements the variety here seems to run from solo singer to small big band which adds a great deal of character making a good album turn into a great album. Solid consistent performances permeate this release. Charlie McCarthy does a wonderful job with the saxophone solo and enhances the lyrical sense of purpose these arrangements bring to the table. "Black Coffee" is another stellar tune where Marlowe's pipes can simply envelope the tune and the listener.
The set list my be somewhat familiar but just eclectic enough to make this release well worth a second look. The arrangements are killer and the band slays these tunes with ease as they play "with" Marlowe and not "around" her - big difference.
If you are into old school jazz vocals but with a nice contemporary flavor this may be what you are looking for. The release itself will not street till 07/31/12. Since we are in the age of the digital download and with so many options for the consumer let me help you out:
Then you have Rhapsody, Spotify, MediaNet, GooglePlay and Zune.
Of course I am one of the few critics that will retweet a release to remind you about a week in advance so if you let this slip past you it is certainly not from me not trying!
A rock solid. Incredibly entertaining release.
Tracks: I Concentrate On You; Black Coffee; Autumn Leaves/There's No You; Love Dance; Honeysuckle Rose; A Sunday Kind Of Love; The Song Is You; More Than You Know; You Don't Love Me; Lonely House/With Every Breath I Take; Spain; Those Eyes.
Personnel: John Shifflett: bass; Jason Lewis: drums & percussion; Charlie McCarthy: alto & tenor saxophone and flute; Jeff Cressman: trombone; John Worley, Jr.: trumpet & flugelhorn; Larry Dunlap: piano.
Thanks to Jim Eigo at Jazz Promo Services!