Karen Ristuben: Day Dream
Karen Ristuben (vocals)
Too Much (Daring Records DR5011)
Karen Ristuben (vocals),
Billy Novick (clarinet, alto sax), Duke Levine (electric and nylon-string guitars), Kevin Barry (archtop and lap steel guitars), Marty Ballou (bass), Per Hansen (drums).
Composed by Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn.
Recorded: Topsfield, MA, November-December 2007
Rating: 78/100 (learn more)
Consider a small roadside bar with a blonde chanteuse singing to a bunch of beer-drinking flyboys and their molls on break from the nearby desert Air Force base that is home to that rare breed called test pilots. Some are dancing, some are simply enjoying the music. It could be a scene from back in the '50s where these classic rugged individualists, who would soon populate NASA's astronaut program, found respite from their hair-raising daily escapades through music that mixes the soft sleepy delivery of a laid-back era with embellishments of steel guitar and a twangy Fender telecaster, giving this Ellington composition its own unique western flavor. Ristuben's monotonic voice and her accomplished musical partners trigger this scene in my mind, with their oddly effective combination of sounds and approach. It's maybe not jazz per se, but certainly evokes a time past and a musical hybrid that combines elements of jazz, western instrumentation and torch singing.
Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello