It’s been a bad run lately. A stack of CDs sits by the changer in the big room, and I keep cycling through them, hoping maybe the second or third time I listen, something will click.
So when some new discs entered the mix, it was like, “Hooray!”
And then, after listening – it was “Hooray!” all over again.
Kelley Suttenfield – Where Is Love (Rhombus)
Released – November 3, 2009
Mellow, warm and inviting, Kelley Suttenfield’s “Where Is Love” is an outstanding debut from this New York-based singer.
It’s an eclectic mix of selections on this offering – from a funky “Ode to Billie Joe,” through an Indian (Eastern) rendition of the jazz classic “Nature Boy,” to a very standard rendition of Mancini/Mercer’s “Charade.”
worth mentioning is the backing quintet – especially the guitar work of Jesse Lewis, who I swore was playing a sitar alongside a recorded tamboura.
And while I might have preferred a suite of songs that hangs together a little more cohesively, there’s really not a clunker in the bunch. Ms. Suttenfield demonstrates not only great range in her vocal stylings, but also in the emotional buttons to hit in order to make all these varied pieces work.
Ms. Suttenfield is worth watching, and decidedly worth listening to. This first recording from her is highly recommended.
Kenny and Leah – You And The Night And The Music (K&L)
Released – August 24, 2009
Master tenor saxophonist Kenny Soderblom has a resume that includes eight years with the CBS/Chicago orchestra, bandleader, producer, and stints in the backing bands for names like Frank Sinatra, Quincy Jones, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney and Nancy Wilson. His wife, Leah McCoy Soderblom is a classicly-trained vocalist, fluent in a half-dozen languages
This disc is one of four the pair have recorded in the past couple of years, and is a classy set of classic covers. Ms. Soderblom’s vocal stylings are distinctive; her interpretation of the lyrics is sensous and unique, the Mister’s sax is fluid and honeyed. My favorites from the disc include not only the title track, but also the Michael Franks-penned “Popsicle Toes.” Both Soderbloms get a chance to shine on this one; he handles a pair of tracks on the disc solo.
Richard Drexler gets props for keyboards, bass and musical direction. I found this one best for late-night listening. Highly recommended.
By the way, a joke in the mail from Nashville-based Benita Hill reminded me that as I dusted off the holiday discs, I shouldn’t forget two of my favorites from her – “Winter Fire And Snow,” and “Moonglow and Mistletoe,” both of which I reviewed last year, here.
I’m Looking forward this week to the Tuesday release of the fourth album from Norah Jones. The first single from the disc, “Chasing Pirates,” has been in rotation for a while now. The accompanying video is inspired, and memorable. I can’t embed it into the page; but you can find it at YouTube. Instead, though – here’s Ms. Jones’ appearance on Jools Holland’s BBC2 program. Until next time.