Sony Holland: Million Dollar Dreams
Million Dollar Dreams
Sony Holland (vocals)
Swing, Bossas, Ballads & Blues (Van Ness Records 004)
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