As sophisticated as is Lisa Hilton, as sweet and subtle as is Cyrille Aimee, so is Svetlana Shmulyian sexy and swinging. A veteran of the New York nightclub scene, Svetlana calls on an A-list roster of players to make this record, including drummer (and co-producer) Rob Garcia, trumpeter Charlie Caracas and bassist George Delancey. Also in the mix is trombonist Wycliffe Gordon. "Wycliffe has a natural chemistry with the band," says Svetlana of his participation. "He's truly one of the most professional, supportive musicians and band members that I know. He behaves like a soldier in an army that I lead, and then when he steps out the whole room lights up in a different color."
Musically, the record sounds exactly as the title suggests: of back rooms and speakeasies and mob bosses sporting expensive suits and cheap cigars, a soundtrack to the boardwalk empire of the 1920s. Highlights include a subtle reading of the Ellington/Strayhorn chestnut "Just A Sittin' and A Rockin'" (made most famous by Ella Fitzgerald), a deep in the blues rendition of another Ella tune, "Do Nothing 'Til You Hear From Me" and a super hot take on the Gershwin's "Lady, Be Good," the title cut from the Broadway show that starred Fred Astaire and ran for over 600 nights during the mid 20s. Particularly strong on the latter two cuts is pianist Dalton Ridenhour (with Garcia kicking a nice solo out of the box on "Lady, Be Good").
Producer Guy Eckstine calls Svetlana "Astrid Gilberto via Moscow." Throw in a little Bessie Tucker and Buster Keaton and you've an accurate picture of what Svetlana brings to the microphone.