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Bebop Spoken There

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11,652 (and counting) posts since we started blogging just over 12 years ago. 787 of them this year alone and, so far, 51 this month (July 13).

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

CD Review: Jamie Shew - Eyes Wide Open

Jamie Shew (vocals, arrangements); Larry Koonse (guitars); Joe Bagg (piano and Hammond B3); Darek Oles (bass); Jason Harnell (drums)
(Review by Ann Alex).
‘This one’s a cracker’ said Lance as he handed over the CD, and it certainly is. Yet I reckon that it’s a miracle that it was ever made, as it’s literally a labour of love. Jamie Shew uses song to tell the story of her 20 year relationship with her husband, bass player Roger Shew, who sadly died of cancer. She traces their lives together in music, with good taste and a lack of sentimentality, and even manages to look to the future.

She met Roger at Washington State University, where she studied jazz piano. After graduation the couple married and went to Michigan, where they gained Master’s degrees in Jazz Studies, eventually moving to LA, where they became part of the jazz scene. Jamie had always sung, and her voice on the CD is warm and inviting, what I’d call honey-toned. She chose songs which she’d always liked, but now they took on new meanings. She also includes two of her own compositions: Get Out Of My Head and Eyes Wide Open.   

The instrumentalists are of course well up to the mark, and Ms Shew wisely allows them lots of soloing. Larry Koonse’s fine guitar work on The Answers Are You reminded me of the intricate melodies of Bach’s music, and the track is actually a Metheny tune, to which Roger Shew wrote the lyrics. Cole Porter’s Easy To Love shows skilled phrasing from our singer and many instrumental repetitions of the last song line. The Flat Foot Floogie is a song about a dance, performed with fun and wordless singing. (This dance was actually featured in a recent television programme about tap dancing – I’m starting to wonder if BSH has a secret contact at the BBC).

 Mountain Greenery is included to remind Ms Shew of the camping trip to the mountains, when Roger proposed. Easy Living is slow and relaxing to suit the tune: You Don’t Know What Love Is begins with a folky Russian sound, and is played faster than you’d expect for a sad song, but it works. The other tracks are: Detour Ahead; Thou Swell; First Song (For Ruth); O Cantador: Reflections.

The CD was available in stores and online from May 15. See www.jamieshewmusic.com
Ann Alex.

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