The Moonlight Sessions Volume One
A.T. Music LLC
A former corporate marketing executive, Southern California vocalist Lyn Stanley has produced this, the first of two volumes that is directed not simply at jazz enthusiasts but also audiophiles with SACD, hi resolution downloads, high end 45 RPM vinyl editions and even 15ips reel to reel tapes. She certainly has assembled a stellar cast of players for this recording session: pianists Mike Garson, Christian Jacob and Tamir Hendelman, guitarist John Chiodini, bassist Chuck Berghofer, drummer Joe La Barbara, percussionist Luis Conte, harmonica maestro Hendrik Meurkens, tenor-saxophonist Rickey Woodard, and trumpeter/trombone player Chuck Findley. Garson, Hendelman, Jacob, Chiodini and Doug Walter provided the arrangements on the standards and adaptations of pop songs.
Stanley is a marvelous song stylist as opposed to a scatting jazz vocalist who delivers a program "All or Nothing at All," "My Funny Valentine," "Embraceable You," "Why Don't You Do Right," "Crazy," "Close Your Eyes," and "In the Wee Small Hours," with a soft, sultry voice and direct, clean articulation of the lyrics. Her natural phrasing and delivery also contributes to the wonderful performances, along with the marvelous musicians such as Findlay's trumpet on the opening "All or Nothing at All," with wonderful piano and the brassy horn riffs. Woodard's tenor sax adds his magic to "Willow Weep For Me," as he embroiders her vocal with guitarist Chiodini adding chords and fills. Meurkens adds his harmonica to a Brazilian tinged treatment of "Close Your Eyes," while harmonica, and Chiodini's guitar to the lament, "How Insensitive, " that she sings in a heartfelt fashion.
One here's a definite Peggy Lee influence on her rendition of "Why Don't You Do Right?' that opens with finger-snapping, bass and guitar before La Barbara lightly uses brushes with Berghofer taking a solo. The choice of the Willie Nelson penned Patsy Cline hit, "Crazy," is an inspired choice with Berghofer opening playing the opening line before the band comes in with a juke joint feel and Findlay and the horns contribute extra spice. Another softly sung late night lament, "In the Wee Wee Hours," with Meurkens' harmonica complemented by Chiodini's guitar accompaniment and La Barbara's brushes providing the right atmosphere for this marvelous closing performance on a wonderfully sung, played, and recorded album of sophisticated jazz vocals.
I received my review copy from a publicist. This review originally appeared in the September-October 2017 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 374). Here is Lyn Stanley performing live.