Sony Holland: Million Dollar Dreams


Million Dollar Dreams


Sony Holland (vocals)


Swing, Bossas, Ballads & Blues (Van Ness Records 004)

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Sony Holland (vocals),

Charles McNeal (alto, tenor saxes), Larry Dunlap (piano), Seward McCain (bass)


Composed by Jerry Holland; arranged by Larry Dunlap


Recorded: Marin County, CA, released 2008


Rating: 75/100 (learn more)

Most female "jazz" singers seem to be intent on rehashing old classics that have been done too often by masters whose classic renditions are hard to challenge in any meaningful way. I am almost always disappointed when I hear favorite songs rendered in a mostly feeble attempt to capture the essence of the familiar. I suppose it is irresistible, and if some didn't do it well we would be deprived of some wonderful alternate takes. Sony Holland has a Las Vegas-torch singer voice that is not unpleasant but is neither to this ear overly interesting, especially on popular melodies. Some artists can create a completely original take on a classic and make them their own. (Cassandra Wilson comes to mind.) But most singers should either tread carefully or avoid such material. Holland is best when singing songs seemingly made specifically for her. Original songs give the listener a clean slate on which to judge an artist's choice of music, vocal nuances and delivery. On "Million Dollar Dreams," Holland's delivery suits the swing of the tune, which is well arranged by Larry Dunlap and finely complemented by some wonderfully expressive saxophone playing from Charles McNeal. Holland stretches out a bit on this tune, and it shows promise.

Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello

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  • 1 J. O. // May 08, 2008 at 06:18 PM
    I agree in that the tunes specifically created for Holland's voice are delivered with a passion and elegance only she can deliver. However I also think she makes each and every tune her own. Her renditions of songs such as At Last, The Shadow of Your Smile and 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover, not to mention Midnight Sun and Speak Low are excellent examples of Hs. Hollands diverse talents as a vocalist. Whether classic standards or originals her deliverance exhudes inividuality and sheer creativity.