Some tire of what is called the “Great American Songbook.”
Yeah, I’m not one of those.
Lizzie Thomas – New Sounds From The Jazz Age
Released – 24 January 2020
From Wikipedia: “The Great American Songbook…is the canon of the most important and influential American popular songs and jazz standards from the early 20th century. (It refers) to a loosely defined set including the most popular and enduring songs from the 1920s to the 1950s…created for Broadway theatre, musical theatre, and Hollywood musical film.”
I prefer to think of each of these classics as a blank canvas onto which talented artists can project their style. Not unlike a painting, it may resonate or not.
In this fourth set of recordings from Lizzie Thomas, she pairs her versatile, supple voice with a backing band that provides a perfect frame, led by pianist John Colianni arranging. Jay Leonhart and Boots Maleson on Bass, Russell Malone and Matt Chertkoff on guitar, Omar Daniels on tenor sax and flute, Felix Peikli on clarinet, Bernard Linette on drums, and Doug Hendrichs on percussion.
But make no mistake – it’s Ms. Thomas up front, flowing around and through the backing like a stream – be it moving quietly or rushing through the rapids.
The collection of tunes includes a pair of Gershwin’s (“Fascinating Rhythm” and “Our Love Is Here To Stay”), and two Porters (“You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To” and “In The Still Of The Night”).
There’s one each from Berlin (“Cheek To Cheek”), Ray Noble (“The Very Thought Of You”), and “Close Your Eyes,” written by Bernice Petkere, who Mr. Berlin once called “The Queen of Tin Pan Alley.”
There’s the nearly-obligatory Jobim number – although I’ll bet you’ve never heard “One Note Samba” executed like this – and Duke Ellington’s “I Didn’t Know About You.”
And if the painter would never paint the same subject the same way twice – so it is with the music. “I can call a tune for the rest of my life, and I will never sing it the same way,” Ms. Thomas says. “That’s freedom, that’s provocative – that’s jazz.”
This collection of standards comes very highly recommended.