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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

CD Review: Carolyn Lee Jones - The Performer

Carolyn Lee Jones (vocals,  background); Brad Williams (piano, keyboard); Jonathan Fisher (basses); Andrew Griffith (drums); also on various tracks: Todd Parsnow (guitars); Jorge Ginorio (percussion); Shelley Carrol (flutes, tenor sax); Mario Cruz (flute, tenor sax); Joyce Spenser (alto sax); Paul Elder (bass clarinet); David Pierce (trombone, string synth); Tony Baker (trombone).
(Review by Ann Alex)
Take hope all ye people in ‘ordinary’ jobs.  Carolyn Lee Jones, raised in Nebraska, worked for many years in retail but never quite forgot her musical ambitions.  She became a full time jazz singer and bandleader in 2008, and this is her second album, and a fine piece of work it is.  The CD insert describes her as a ‘contralto’, not a term I’d use about a jazz singer.  No, she’s a singer with a rich, flexible range, expressing herself admirably in song.  The musicians are well skilled and play as appropriate for the tune.  For example in Lazy Afternoon there is a repeated buzzy bee sound from the  horns, and for The Island, a song about living with your lover on a desert island, the flute solos like a humming bird.
The disc features jazz standards East of The Sun; Nearness Of You; Old Devil Moon; Never let Me Go; and several other standards such as Small Day Tomorrow (Fran Landesman); The Performer; Creepin’  (Stevie Wonder); If You Were Shakespeare; I Wished On The Moon; Let’s Get Lost; Piano In The Dark; Tell Me All About It; Lazy Afternoon; The Island.
I prefer the jazzier tracks where the singer sounds more ‘at home’ but all the tracks are worth listening to, including the relaxed tones of the horns on Small Day Tomorrow (about a day off work); the pleasing bowed bass solo on East Of The Sun; the pulse beat of the drum and the jazzy piano on If You Were Shakespeare and the catchy Latin beat of Tell Me All About It.
The CD is released on November 19 on the Cat’nround Sound label.
Ann Alex    

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