Carolyn Lee Jones: “Close Your Eyes” (2019) CD Review
Carolyn Lee Jones is a jazz vocalist based in Dallas, Texas. Her full-time music career started only a little more than a decade ago, and in that time she has released several albums and singles. Her latest, Close Your Eyes, finds her singing material covering the many facets of love. Joining her on most tracks of this release is Brad Williams on piano, synthesizer and organ. He also arranged several of the tracks. Sergio Pamies, the other pianist joining her on this album, arranged a couple of the other tracks. Carolyn Lyn Jones has an array of other talented musicians joining her on various tracks.
Close Your Eyes opens with its title track, which features some delicious work on bass, including a truly expressive solo. The bass is really a second voice on this track. That is Jonathan Fisher on upright bass. There is also some really nice work on keys, particularly in the second half. Carolyn Lee Jones’ vocals have a romantic, somewhat soothing quality, but there is also a youthful excitement to her delivery at times. “Close your eyes/When you open them, dear/I’ll be near/By your side.” She whispers the last line, “I can feel you next to me,” a line I don’t recall hearing in other versions. Then Andrew Griffith starts the following track, “No Moon At All,” on drums with some gentle playing. And for a moment Carolyn Lee Jones’ voice is supported just by drums, before the bass and piano come in. There is something sexy and also playful about this rendition, a song to bring you closer to that special someone. This track features some wonderful work by Brad Williams on piano. Interestingly, Carolyn Lee Jones whispers the last line to this one too, “Kiss me,” which I also don’t remember being in other versions.
“The Nearness Of You” begins with some beautiful work by Sergio Pamies on piano. Soon Daniel Pardo joins on flute, giving this version a light quality, a quality which Carolyn’s vocal approach emphasizes. Pepe Valdez joins Carolyn Lee Jones on acoustic guitar. Young Heo plays bass on this track, and Lupe Barerra is on drums. Things then get snappy and fun with a good rendition of “That Old Black Magic,” which has a touch of funk. Also, this track has a horn section, adding to the joy of the sound. Dave Pierce is on trombone (he also arranged this one), and Dave Monsch is on saxophone. Joe Lee plays electric guitar on this track. Jeff Plant is on electric bass, Dennis Durick is on drums, and Arno Lucas adds to the groove on percussion.
Carolyn Lee Jones delivers a sweet, smooth, sexy vocal performance on “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You,” which also features Daniel Pardo again on flute. Pepe Valdez is on acoustic guitar. Sergio Pamies gives us some wonderful work on piano. It is a cheerful rendition, if perhaps a bit mellower than some versions I’ve heard. Then “When I Found You” has more of a big band sound, with that horn section of Dave Pierce on trombone, Pete Clagett on trumpet and Dave Monsch on saxophone. Matt Young is on drums, and Joe Lee is on electric guitar. Brad Williams plays organ on this one. Carolyn Lee Jones’ vocals have a delightful energy and cheer. “All Night Long” is a late-night romantic number written by Curtis Lewis, featuring some gorgeous work on horns. Pete Clagett is on trumpet and Dave Monsch is on saxophone. Jeffrey Eckels plays upright bass. Carolyn Lee Jones delivers another beautiful and alluring vocal performance here, pulling us in. “When I sleep, he tells me he’s in love with me/And how much he needs me to be near/But at best a dream is just a fantasy/When I touch his hand, he just disappears.” The disc then concludes with a kind of dreamy rendition of “I Only Have Eyes For You.” Brad Williams plays both piano and synthesizer on this track. As she did on the first two tracks, Carolyn Lee Jones ends this one with a whispered line, a breathy “I love you.”
CD Track List
- Close Your Eyes
- No Moon At All
- I Was A Fool
- The Nearness Of You
- That Old Black Magic
- Love After Midnight
- Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You
- When I Found You
- My Foolish Heart
- All Night Long
- I Only Have Eyes For You
Close Your Eyes was released on September 15, 2019.