Friday, February 24, 2017

Jazz Loves Disney

Jazz Loves Disney

A new album offers jazz interpretations of songs associated with Disney Movies. **Jay Newland produced this album of mostly big band orchestral settings (including strings) for jazz vocals that was arranged and directed by Rob Mounsey. Such vocalists as Gregory Porter, Jamie Cullum, Melody Gardot, and Stacey Kent, lend their talents to this project that brings forth songs from such films as "Cinderella," "Lady and the Tramp," "The Jungle Book," "101 Dalmatians" and others.

Jamie Cullum gets things of with the playful "Everybody Wants To Be a Cat," with Mounsey's arrangements handsomely providing the setting for the first part before the band and Cullum erupts into a quasi Dixieland frenzy. Melody Gardot lends a smoky and sultry flavor to "He's a Tramp," with strings adding a lush, but not syrupy feel, with a marvelous saxophone solo. Stacey Kent is delightful singing in French, "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo," followed by Gregory Porter delivering a dreamy "When You Wish Upon A Star."

I am not familiar with China Moses whose rendition of the Lil Green classic "Why Don't You Do Right," is patterned on Peggy Lee's famous rendition, with the bass very prominent in the backing. I am also not familiar with Raphael Gualazzi but he delights on the latin rhumba groove of "I Wanna Be Like You." He and Melody Gardot duet on the peppy "The Bare Necessities." The Rob Mounsey Orchestra is featured on " A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes," opening with some atmospheric muted trumpet to play the lyrics.

Hugh Colman's vocal on "You've Got A Friend In Me" is suggestive of Harry Connick without being imitative. I found Anne Sila sort of out of place with her pop-flavored styling on "Let It Go," while Laika's romanticism sounds matched well with "Once Upon A Dream." Nikki Yanofsky delightfully transforms "Someday My Prince Will Come" into French on "Un Jour Mon Prince Viendra," while The Hot Sardines, only the only track without the Mounsey Orchestra, closes this thoroughly delightful recording with a spirited "I Wanna Be Like You."

I received a download from a publicist. This review appeared in the January-February 2017 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 370).  Here is a sample of the album.

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