For the most part I am allergic to jazz vocals. I'm not really sure why this is the case, other than it's just a personal taste thing - not any kind of indictment on jazz singing in general. I definitely appreciate the talents and artistry of jazz singers (for contemporary singers Roberta Gambarini can't be topped), but I generally can't get with jazz vocals.
For the curious, some of my favorite jazz vocalists are Nancy Wilson - especially that album she did with Cannonball, Frank Sinatra - but pretty much only those records he did with Nelson Riddle, such as Sings for Only the Lonely
or Sings for Swingin' Lovers
- although I have to say he did phone in a few of those and are barely worth listening to, and well, those are the only two folks I off the top of my head, I'm sure I have a couple other favorites.
But, there are a two recent albums that I have no problem getting with, albeit for completely different reasons: A Wallflower in the Amazon
by Darrell Katz and the Jazz Composers Alliance Orchestra on Accurate Records and a project on OA2 put together by Nich Anderson and Bill Anschell, which features a whole heap of singers and instrumentalists from across the country. These records might not cure my jazz vocals allergy, but they are at least a treat to listen to.
The concept for [JazzVox Presents: In Your Own Backyard
] comes from a series of house concerts in the Seattle, Washington area that Nich Anderson produced, which he called JazzVox. The house concerts provided an intimate venue for duos of singers and instrumentalists to present their work. Anderson, who along with pianist Patti Wicks provides a cover of Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn's "Time After Time" on the record, then decided to take these duos into the studio to document these performances. The end result is a charming and intimate record that features takes of standards such as "You're Getting to Be a Habit With Me" and "Comes Love" (performed by bassist and vocalist Kristin Korb and pianist Randy Halberstadt), and "I'm Old Fashioned" (by singer Jo Lawry and pianist Bill Anschell). There are also less well known tunes, such as Frank Rosolino's "Please Don't Bug Me," on which pianist and vocalist John Proulx and bassist Chuck Kistler swing like mad. JazzVox Presents
is a straight ahead, swinging, and traditional treatment of vocals with accompaniment, and it will certainly appeal to fans of that approach.