POP CULTURE CLASSICS
by Paul Freeman
CAROLYN LEE JONES – “CLOSE YOUR EYES”
Close your eyes and savor the breath of fresh air that is Carolyn Lee Jones. For more than a decade, she has been establishing herself as a first-rate jazz-pop cabaret vocalist. Her fourth album is filled with pleasing tunes that Jones enhances with her own engaging style.
Jones opens with the beguiling, Latin beat of the title track, “Close Your Eyes,” penned by Bernice Petkere, labeled by Irving Berlin as “Queen of Tin Pan Alley.” Other memorable tracks here include the Hoagy Carmichael/Ned Washington standard “The Nearness of You,” and another entry from the Great American Songbook — Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer’s “That Old Black Magic,” which Jones imbues with a playful rhythm, accented by horns. Jones expresses a longing in Bob Gaudio/Bob Crewe classic “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” then swings on “When I Found You.”
She pours honest emotion into such numbers as “Confession” (Arthur Schwartz, Howard Dietz), “My Foolish Heart” (Ned Washington, Victor Young) and “I Only Have Eyes for You” (Al Dubin/Harry Warren). And her vulnerability comes across in the subtly simmering “All Night Long” (Curtis Lewis).
Jones has surrounded herself with top-notch musicians who tastefully complement her sound. Her voice is smooth and inviting on each track, sensitively wrapping itself warmly around each lyric.