A potentially lethal elixir of nothing...
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
I had a conversation with Motema recording artist Rondi Charleston (formerly an accomplished journalist) who remarked that bad reviews are o.k. as long as you reinforce the "why" question. Lyn Stanley can sing and there is no denying that she is a talent. The problem is that in the overly crowded sorority of female jazz singers she simply isn't memorable. The sophomore release Potions runs the sonic spectrum from "Cry Me A River" to "I'm Walkin" and back to "The Thrill Is Gone." Potions are songs from the 50's yet Stanley is attempting to work so many different genres there is no real feel for who she is as an artist. Jazz? No...Thanks to some incredibly predictable arrangements this is mediocre easy listening at best. The arrangements could have saved this release but Stanley is still a singer new to the business and issues of phrasing and timing occasionally pop up and show some chinks in her vocal armor.
There is nothing here that is any different than what you might hear in a nice hotel bar or resort hotel provided you are the last of that dying species known as the lounge lizard. I had another conversation with saxophonist Bob Mintzer who said that critics think everything sucks but everyone has something to offer. My reply was brief, "Play a bad record one hundred times and it still won't sound any better."