Sandy Dennison,
(self-produced, 2007)

Sandy Dennison explores jazz and pop standards from the Great American Songbook on Jazzed! There are many CDs like this lately, but this one is a fine effort. Dennison does not try to do anything new. In fact, her press release calls her "sound uniquely centered in the tradition of vocalists such as Chris Connor and Helen Merrill of the 1950s era."

This CD sounds like a release of a 1950s singer updated with modern production values and a high degree of jazz sensibility. Unlike recordings from an earlier era, Andre St. James's upright bass can be easily heard, adding to the rhythm. The production by Vincent Frates, who also plays piano on the CD, brings out Dennison's clear-as-a-bell voice.

The songs are delivered in traditional style, but many are approached with a different tempo or feel. "A Wonderful Day Like Today" has fast, breezy solos by Derek Sims on muted trumpet. Frates uses three note patterns to anchor the rhythm for "Primrose Color Blue" and "On The Street Where You Live." David Evans's sax turns "Lonely Hours" into a film noir type of song. "They Say It's Wonderful" and "A Sunday Kind of Love" become plaintive ballads.

It is a subjective judgment that depends on the listener, but it seems to me that Dennison has more of a feel for these songs than nearly all the singers who are turning to standards to revive their careers, and her interpretive skills are far superior. In other words, this CD is the real thing.

review by
Dave Howell

1 September 2007

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