Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Judy Wexler What I See Jazzed Media 2013

Judy Wexler gives true meaning to the word organic as it relates to popular song.
Brent Black / @CriticalJazz

Eclectic and organic are two words that are the musical equivalent to "amazing" and "awesome" as used in everyday life. The latest effort from Judy Wexler is aptly titled What I See and is one of the finer examples of what connecting to a song is all about. Wexler's growth as a vocal artist is nothing short of "amazing" while holding true to a deconstructed approach to some delightfully left of center material from such luminaries as Rickie Lee Jones, Richie Havens and Benny Carter. Reharming a work without ever losing sight of the original melody is a beautiful thing.

Most singers with a stage background have a difficult if not impossible task of shaking that theatrical presentation when performing. Wexler is a vocal chameleon easily adapting to a diverse collection of material and with the technical proficiency more closely associated with the traditional jazz singer. The band here consists of some familiar names with pianist and former Lou Rawls Music Director Jeff Colella leading the charge and with ace guitarist Larry Koonse following closely.

Highlights? Literally too many to list as each of the eleven tracks here are unique portraits of not only the artist that created the original work but of the meticulous reinvention of these rarities as given by Wexler. "The Long Goodbye" from the classic 1973 Robert Altman film is given a second chance at life along with the pre-World War II gem, "A Kiss To Build A Dream On."
I had the distinct pleasure of reviewing "Under A Painted Sky" and the exponential growth as an artist portrayed with What I See is nothing short of "awesome."

Tracks: Tomorrow Is Another Day; The Moon Is Made Of Gold; Convince Me; They Say It's Spring; A Certain Sadness; The Long Goodbye; Just For Now; Follow; Another Time, Another Place; A Kiss To Build A Dream On; Laughing At Life.

Personnel: Judy Wexler: Vocals; Jeff Colella: Piano; Larry Koonse: Guitar, Ukuele; Scott Whitfield: Trombone; Ron Stout: Flugelhorn, Trumpet; Bob Sheppard: Bass Clarinet, Alto Flute; Chris Colangelo: Bass; Steve Hass: Drums; Billy Hulting: Percussion.