Darden Purcell

Love's Got Me in a Lazy Mood

oa2 22218


iTunes - $9.99

MUSIC REVIEW BY Carmel DeSoto, Jazz Music Archives


4-STARS Darden Purcell's album, "Love's Got Me In A Lazy Mood," unfolds as a project that is a meticulous assembly of jazz artistry. The eleven tracks finely exhibit Purcell's mastery as a vocalist and the collaborative spirit that jazz embodies. With arrangements and an original by Shawn Purcell, they present a vocal jazz set that reflects jazz's past elegance while carving out a contemporary program in sound and texture.

"Love's Got Me In A Lazy Mood" is an album that captures the essence of vocal jazz's power as Darden's vocal contributions bring strong melody singing and her ability to use her voice as an instrument. Darden's agile voice serves as the guiding light through this journey, with a warm and commanding tone. Her ability to navigate the complexities of jazz singing, from the blues-infused narratives to the lyrical delicacies of the Great American Songbook, is delightful. Her interpretations of the melodies are grounded in the lineage of jazz, with a strong West Coast vibe, but all with a keen ear for precise jazz rhythms and articulations.

The album starts with "Willow Weep for Me," where Shawn's cleaver arrangement immediately sets a tone of rhythmic exploration. Joe Locke's vibraphone and Shawn's guitar both add texture and energy to the music, which is lyrical and forward-moving. Darden's vocal delivery on this track demonstrates her unique and organic jazz phrasing and emotive storytelling of the lyrics, capturing the listener's imagination and setting the stage for the album's narrative arc. In "Love's Got Me in a Lazy Mood," we are treated to Darden's vocal versatility as she imbues the song with a sense of effortless grace, while navigating its angular intervals with a deep understanding of jazz's expressive jargon.

The rendition of "A Cottage for Sale" is a moment to enjoy Darden's grace as a balladeer. Her breath control and emotive accents add to the song's narrative essence and melodic flow. The arrangement supports her every step, allowing the listener to fully immerse themselves in the storytelling as the harmonic support from Shawn's and Todd Simon's piano cradle every nuance.

"Estrada Branca (This Happy Madness)" stands out with Purcell's fluency in the Latin jazz genre. Her vocal agility, combined with the Brazilian groove laid down by Jeff Reed's bass and Todd Harrison's drums, creates an enchanting musical moment. The bilingual delivery adds layers of texture and depth, further showing Purcell's extraordinary range and sensitivity.

"Chatterbox," an original composition by Shawn with lyrics written by Darden, is a perfect balance of Darden acting as an instrumentalist and vocalist. The style of this vocalese has its spirit in the hard-bop tradition. Here, Darden's lyrical ingenuity shines, supported by the ability to sing these bop lines with a compelling 'horn-like' approach with clear diction, which is excellent. The track is a vibrant celebration of jazz's enduring vitality, with each musician bringing their unique voice to the collective conversation.

"Taking a Chance on Love" encapsulates the album's essence, blending the historical with the contemporary. The arrangement's nod to the iconic styles of George Shearing and Marty Paich, combined with Purcell's playful and sophisticated vocal interpretation, serves as a fitting culmination to this musical odyssey.

"Love's Got Me In A Lazy Mood" has a balance of vocal jazz tradition and innovative exploration, highlighting the evolving role of a vocalist within the genre. Darden Purcell's exceptional vocal artistry, combined with a symbiotic relationship with her ensemble, weaves a compelling narrative that honors and expands vocal jazz's boundaries. Through inventive arrangements and a carefully curated selection of songs, the album invites listeners to delve into vocal jazz's many textures and complexities, seamlessly integrating past and contemporary elements. "Love's Got Me In A Lazy Mood" propels the conversation of the role of a jazz vocalist, ensuring its relevance and vitality in the jazz canon.





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