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Tuesday, July 03, 2018

CD Review: Allegra Levy - Looking at the Moon

Allegra Levy (vocal); Carmen Staaf (piano); Alex Goodman (guitar); Tim Norton (bass).
(Review by Lance).
Not an original conception. Sinatra had the same idea with Moonlight Sinatra and Mel Tormé came up with Swingin' on the Moon. Sinatra and Tormé had 4 duplications, Levy and Tormé only 2 (Blue Moon and No Moon at All) and all of Sinatra and Levy's moons were in different orbits. Given that there are 35 tracks on all 3 albums the fact that there are so few repetitions is an indication of just how many moon songs there are out there and the tide has yet to be stemmed as Ms Levy's album includes items from Cat Stephens, Neil Young and Nick Drake along with the usual suspects.
This, the third album from the sultry-voiced singer is on a par with her two previous discs and, arguably, even better.

The voice is soft and sensuous - like Blossom Dearie without the 'cuteness'. The intonation is spot-on and the almost imperceptible vibrato when she sustains a note quite breathtaking if you'll pardon the pun! Levy can also scat with the best of them without sounding contrived which is no easy matter.
It's a gentle and quite exquisite album with appropriate accompaniment. Staaf, her long-time pianist, is to the manner born - he recently served as pianist at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance in L.A. Levy warmly acknowledges the 'big time' help the Institute gave to her 'space project'.
Because of the intimacy of the music, drums were out and the 'fluid lyricism' of guitarist Goodman and bassist Norton added. Norton also assisted with the arrangements.
Delightful!
Lance.
Moon River: I Got the Sun in the Morning (and the moon at night); Harvest Moon; Blue Moon; Moon Ray; Moonlight in Vermont; Moonshadow; Moonglow; Polka Dots and Moonbeams; No Moon at All; It's Only a Paper Moon; Pink Moon; I'll be Seeing You (included because of the last line - 'I'll be looking at the moon, but I'll be seeing you'.
Released June 16 on Steeplechase SCCD 31852.

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