Swedish vocalist Vivian Buczek has made her contribution to the Ella Fitzgerald centenary with this release. This is collaboration with pianist and arranger Martin Sjöstedt with bassist Niklas Fernqvist and drummer Johan Löfcrantz Ramsay. Also appearing on this are Mattias Ståhl on vibraphone; Fredrik Lindborg on bass clarinet and tenor sax; Peter Asplund on trumpet and flugelhorn; and Karl-Martin Almqvist on tenor sax.
The eleven numbers interpreted here include gems from Gershwin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Ray Noble, and Duke Ellington and if these songs will be familiar, the arrangements provided by Sjöstedt along with Buczek's singing, result in lively and fresh renditions. The focus of course is Buczek's vocals. She not only possesses a lovely voice, but her vocals, including her scatting, display impeccable pitch, diction, timing. Her use of dynamics in her delivery of a lyric are marvelous. The backing is terrific too, with Sjöstedt marvelous in comping or soloing as when she wordlessly sings along with Asplund's flugelhorn on "Tenderly."
Highlights include her exquisite rendition of Ellington's "Prelude to a Kiss" with Stahl's vibes accenting her vocal and Ramsey employing brushes; the terrific "The Man I Love," with lively backing, a stellar vibes solo, Sjöstedt superbly accompanying the vocal, and Asplund, taking his own fascinating solo; the wonderful "The Very Thought of You," with strong tenor sax from Lindborg; and her superb scatting on "Lady Be Good," along with some fiery trumpet. Finally, one cannot understate the importance of the rhythm duo of bassist Fernqvist and drummer Ramsay on the consistently wonderful performances on "Ella Lives." Vivian Buczek has not only provided a stellar Ella Fitzgerald tribute but shows herself to be a fabulous jazz singer in her own right.
I received a review copy from the US distributor of this release. Here she performs "The Man I Love."