Chris Connor: Let's Face The Music and Dance

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 2 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.

July 10, 2009 · 0 comments


Kate McGarry: Let's Face the Music and Dance

Vocalist Kate McGarry just gets better and better with each CD. And ever more daring! Fred Astaire would hardly recognize this version of one of his trademark themes. This is more film noir-ish than all-singing-all-dancing, full of a late-night moodiness that is deeply affecting. McGarry is absolutely heartrending - she puts her whole soul into this performance. But this is more than just an emotional lament; her melodic lines are brilliantly conceived and executed. Yet even without the vocal, this track would be worth hearing just for Donny McCaslin's sax solo, where every phrase sounds spontaneous and loose and free. The whole band shines here, floating effortlessly yet also raising the intensity level at just the right junctures. McGarry moves into the big leagues with this impressive release.

June 30, 2008 · 1 comment


Carol Sloane: Let's Face the Music and Dance

Sloane can indeed be called "a singer's singer," possessing a gorgeous vibrato, impeccable taste and keen interpretative ability. She takes this standard at a more languid pace than usual, which only plays to her strengths. She wants to tell a story and always wants the listener to appreciate the lyrics. At 6:48, there's generous space given for masterful solos by Charlap and Alden, two players always worth hearing.

January 30, 2008 · 0 comments


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