Chris Connor: Let's Face The Music and Dance
Chris Connor (vocals)
Let's Face the Music and Dance (Contemporary 14023-2)
Composed by Irving Berlin.
Recorded: New York City, August 5-6, 1986
Rating: 97/100 (learn more)
What makes the 1986 Classic one of Chris Connor's best albums was probably best summed up by the vocalist herself at the time: "I haven't changed my approach, although my voice has gotten deeper and stronger, and I don't experiment as much." Her smoky, deceptively languid tone is still evident, but her aggressive approach on the very first track, "Let's Face the Music and Dance," is anything but the reserved "cool" of her well-known sides from the '50's, such as "all About Ronnie," "Lush Life," and "Lullaby of Birdland," or even that of the warmly emotional "Laura" or "Blame it on My Youth" on Classic.
Perhaps it's partly due to Richard Rodney Bennett's killer arrangement and the zesty horns of Paquito D'Rivera and Claudio Roditi, but Connor soars on "Let's Face the Music and Dance" as she has rarely done on record, particularly on the repeat chorus, where she thrillingly sings the words "teardrops to shed" by jumping up an octave from the first to the second syllable of "teardrops," and then hitting and holding a resonating low note on "shed." Other highlights of this action-packed merely 2½ minute performance include Connor's opening captivating duet with Rufus Reid's walking bass, the piercing and sizzling miniature solo spots by D'Rivera and Roditi, and the rather jolting written horn motifs inserted here and there, most fervidly at the very end. This is a consummate work of art that draws you back for further tastings.
Reviewer: Scott Albin