Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Jersey Jazz" WMA Review

With Joe Lang's kind permission, SloaneView takes pride in reprinting his review of "We'll Meet Again" which appeared in "Jersey Jazz, Journal of The New Jersey Jazz Society". Many thanks, Joe. Glad you like it!

"Anytime that CAROL SLOANE brings out a new album, it is like a special gift for all those who love good singing. On "We'll Meet Again" (Arbors - 19400), Sloane is joined by Ken Peplowski on clarinet and tenor sax, Howard Alden and Bucky Pizzarelli on guitars, Aaron Weinstein on violin, and Steve LaSpina on base for a 13-song program that provides one delight after another. Sloane makes an art form out of understatement. She is a knowing reader of lyrics who uses her subtle artistry to bring out the full impact of each word.

Sloane is a wonderful ballad singer, but is also masterful at swinging without hitting you over the head. This latter aspect of her style is apparent right out of the box as she opens with "Exactly Like You," with Weinstein and Peplowski doing some nice urging. When I heard her singing "Anytime, Anyday, Anywhere," I immediately thought of Lee Wiley who was a co-writer of the tune, as Wiley had a similar understated style that just drew you in as you listened to her.

"Cottage for Sale" is a great song that tells a sad tale that Sloane relates in an appropriately melancholy manner. Few tunes capture the essence of what a jazzman is better than "Zoot Walks In," Dave Frishberg's lyrics having been added to a jazz classic penned by Zoot Sims and Gerry Mulligan, "The Red Door."

There are several selections that are truly obscure, but after hearing Sloane sing them, you will wonder why they have remained so to this time. Among them are "I Haven't Got Anything Better to Do," "If You Could Love Me," "The Meaning of the Blues," and "I Never Loved Anyone." After playing this disc several times, you simply cannot play it just once, I stood up and said out loud "Hooray for Carol Sloane!"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

For The Love Of Ella ...

On Saturday, Jan. 30th, I shared luncheon at my neighborhood Italian restaurant with an interesting lady named Judith Tick. She is a music historian who specializes in women's history and American music. Previous publications include "Women Making Music. The Western Art Tradition 1150-1950" (University of Illinois Press, 1986) and articles on Charles Ives, one winning a "distinguished scholarship" award in 1993. She has been an Associate Editor for "Musical Quarterly" for the last few years and teaches at Northeastern University in Boston. Her biography of Ruth Crawford Seeger is the first full-scale biography of any American female composer.

Ms. Tick is now embarked on what promises to be the most thorough biography of the universally admired/adored Ella Fitzgerald. Since Oscar Peterson introduced me to Ella, and since I subsequently travelled as part of her entourage during two European tours in the late 1970's, Ms. Tick was curious about my time spent with The First Lady Of Song. We talked for three hours and ate little. I hope that my fond memories of Ella will become part of what promises to be a very important book.

Words I Never Thought I'd Write: I have been listening to a cd titled "The Rumba Foundation" by one JESSE COOK and I am loving it. It's genre is (dare I say it?) SMOOTH JAZZ or NEW AGE!!!!! What? I always thought of SJ as that lousy saxophone sound produced by Kenny G, and NA suggested music played by a long-haired man named Yanni who was once the heart's delight of actress Linda Evans. This Jesse Cook fellow owns and plays a gorgeous guitar, and I'm a sucker for flamenco. On "The Rumba Foundation", melodies are of the slimmest proportions combined with a subtle rumba beat that I find soothing and somewhat mesmerizing. May I hastily say these positive words are in no way to be construed as an unequivocal endorsement. "New Age" music is repetitive and simplisitic in the extreme ... entirely appropriate for a long soak in the tub surrounded by scented candles. Or, if you recall how Ravel's "Bolero" provided background for Bo Derek and Dudley Moore in the film "10" ... This cd might be just the ticket. But I'll save my money for the next Bill Charlap release.

Now, where did I put that bubble bath Aunt Lucy gave me for Christmas?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Happy New Year All ...

****** A newly renovated office and a bright, young, eager staff will help to provide more frequent news and commentary from SloaneView. Thanks to all for your patience during these past very silent months.

THE HEADLINES: The latest Arbors release called "We'll Meet Again" is in stores. A really mellow release party took place in Boston on Jan. 8 at the delightfully intimate jazz club Scullers. The entire band was on stage with me: Bucky Pizzarelli (who celebrated two significant milestone dates with us: his 84th birthday and his 56th wedding anniversary), Steve LaSpina on bass, Aaron Weinstein, violin, and good pal Ken Peplowski on tenor and clarinet. No piano. No drums. Tons of fun.

January 22nd: Went to hear Bill Charlap, Kenny Washington and Peter Washington at the opening of their two-night engagement at The Regatta Bar in Cambridge. The trio grows more cohesive and precise if that's possible. Much like the inner workings of a Rolex or Patek Philippe, one marvels as the delicate mechanisms smoothly interact, producing highly intelligent, elegant music that always satisfies and delights. Do not ever pass up the chance to see and hear these Jazz Masters should they be near you.

THE NOT GOOD NEWS AT ALL: On January 18th, famed author Robert Parker suffered a fatal heart attack while working at his desk. Bob was a friend who often surprised me by attending a performance of mine. We began corresponding in the 1980's when I was living in North Carolina. One day, a UNC student informed me that my name appeared in a Spenser thriller titled "Ceremony". Sure enough, Chapter 19 begins: "Carol Sloan was just beginning to sing when I regretfully snapped off the radio and climbed out of the MG." Of course, I wrote him immediately, asking that if in future Spenser found himself listening to my voice, could he please spell it correctly with an "e" at the end of Sloan. A spirited correspondence began, and when I moved to Boston in 1986 to marry Mr. Edward "Buck" Spurr, Bob and his wife Joan were among our wedding guests. A sizeable chunk of Boston is featureless without him.

****** After the usual bustle and good cheer we enjoyed during the Christmas holidays, I am heading to Macy's for the January sales, mourning the elimination of the New England Patriots in their quest for another Super Bowl title, I am counting the hours to the start of Red Sox spring training, keeping an eye on the Boston Celtics and NHL Boston Bruins, and looking forward to a spectacular New Year. I've finished reading "The Girl Who Played With Fire", the second of the Millenium Trilogy beginning with "The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo". The Swedish author, Stieg Larsson, is new to me and I am enjoying his characters and plots enormously. Eagerly look forward to reading "The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest". The bad news here is that Mr. Larsson passed away in 2004. Also have "Stormy Weather, The Life Of Lena Horne" by Jim Gavin, Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love" and Michael Connelly's "9 Dragons" lined up on the bedside table.

I have vowed to become a better wife, a better cook and a much better singer in 2010, with Progress Reports submitted sporadically (probably). Onward and upward!