Monday, September 23, 2013

Morgen Stiegler Reaching For The Moon 2011

Morgen Stiegler's Reaching For The Moon is a no frills approach to vocal improvisation that is as engaging and creative as any major label artist today.
Brent Black /

Putting my animosity toward facebook aside for the moment that is where I discovered the hidden jewel that is Morgen Stiegler. Let me shoot a couple of elephants in my pajamas before I even get started. Not all pretty girls can sing and if your wheelhouse is strictly the Great American Songbook then you have probably limited your audience to those that eat dinner at 3 p.m. That being said, Mogen Stiegler embraces a handful of eclectic standards such as "Dancing In The Dark" and "In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning" while knocking out some imaginative reharms of some even more eclectic pop standards including a dialed down "I Can See Clearly Now" and a samba like "Last Train To Clarksville."

The arrangements here are broken down to a more intimate unplugged feel while moving past the more predictable vocal duo approach. Chris Buzzelli is far more than an accompanist providing a textural counterpoint that allows the music to breathe and take on a unique organic pulse. The 7-string classical guitar used by Buzzelli is a stroke of pure genius in exploring a slightly altered harmonic state without venturing off the melodic cliff. Stiegler contributes her own original in "Better Than This" which again has that bright and breezy Brazilian flavor and is as solid as any tune on the release.

In the overly crowded field of the female vocal artists working the jazz side of the street, Morgen Stiegler can deliver the goods. The jazz version of the sexy little black dress this is a superior effort in every way.

Tracks: Dancing In The Dark; Last Train To Clarksville; I Can See Clearly Now; Whisper Not; It's Like Preaching For The Moon; A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes; Gentle Rain; It's You I Like; Better Than This; Something To Live For; Tell Me; Tea For Two; In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning.

Personnel: Morgen Stiegler: Vocals; Chris Buzzelli: Guitar.
Guests: Jay Ashby: Trombone, Percussion (1,2,7,9,11); Olman Piedra: Percussion (2,9); Mahaska Stiegler: Featured Vocal (8); Theo Stiegler: Cello, Bass (9,11)