Tony Bennett and pianist Charlap give the gold medal treatment to some lesser known songs by Jerome Kern such as “Yesterdays” and “I’m Old Fashioned.” Bennett’s voice has aged, but he still has a way with a song and he allows Charlap to occasionally take center stage. A piano and the great Bennett is all it takes to deliver.
MacFarlane’s love for Sinatra comes across in his delivery of these standards. MacFarlane’s style is perhaps too idolizing of Sinatra. His rendition of “Only the Lonely” seems modeled exactly to Sinatra’s phrasing. But MacFarlane, although not revolutionary, sings with a smooth, articulate voice that lands pleasantly on the ear.
Salvant delivers a mixture of original songs and standards with a definite jazz style. She makes the standards her own while still honoring the music and understanding the lyric. In this outing, besides her original compositions, Salvant sings some musical hits including “The Stepsister’s Lament” from Cinderella and “Something’s Coming” from West Side Story.
Dave Koz is a pro at playing the saxophone. Fans of jazz will love the special holiday CD. Dave Koz & Friends: The 25th of December includes 12 great songs, all with a jazzy twist. It’s really fun to listen to in the car on the way to work!
I just discovered Melody Gardot while searching for singers similar to Diana Krall. I recommend her music for vocal jazz enthusiasts who enjoy a little pop and blues. Gardot has an intriguing backstory that may well have informed her style. Lovely orchestration accents the romantic, lyrically wonderful albums.
Some of my favorite songs: “Impossible Love” evokes a French café ambiance, “Goodbye” demonstrates her sensuous chanteuse quality, “Your Heart is as Black as the Night” has a sultry, bluesy vibe, and the vocal style of “So We Meet Again My Heartache” just gives me goosebumps. Don’t miss her delightful version of “Over the Rainbow.”
Al Di Meola is the acclaimed American jazz fusion and Latin guitarist, composer, and producer. His latest release, All Your Life, is his tribute to the music of the Beatles. If you enjoy acoustic guitar and have loved the Beatles music, this album is a sure hit.
Live in Paris by Diana Krall (2002)
The smoky voiced Krall serves up her Grammy Award-winning jazzy renditions of standards such as “Fly Me to the Moon,” “The Look of Love,” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” The live performance by this singer/pianist adds to the intimacy created by her smooth vocals. Visit Krall’s website to watch her perform select songs or request the DVD from another library to see the full concert recorded live in Paris.
Still Unforgettable by Natalie Cole (2008)
Eight-time Grammy winner Natalie Cole continues her exploration of American pop standards in this sequel to her 1991 Grammy LP of the Year Unforgettable: With Love. I found it to be a nice blend of smooth jazz and big band sounds, but I don’t think she needs to do any more duets with her dead father!
Ahmad Jamal at the Pershing by Ahmad Jamal (1958)
A classic jazz recording by local talent Ahmad Jamal originally released in 1958. “But Not for Me” (George & Ira Gershwin) is a Jamal classic but listen for “Poinciana” (N. Simon, B. Bernier). It is pure genius!