The title of this recording by Lizzie Thomas – New Sounds from the Jazz Age – may suggest it is taking us back to a time deep into a time in the early 20th century, because it references the name of one of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most iconic novels. But Miss Thomas presents her point of view with a caveat early on; i.e., with her use of the words “New Sounds”. “A likely story…” you may be tempted to say, but only until you hear what Miss Thomas has to present to you. When she says “New Sounds” she means it in many more ways than one.
Firstly, every song gets a complete overhaul. You feel this right from the starting gate, when Miss Thomas winds up for Gershwin’s “Fascinating Rhythm”, before the hammer-blow – her fast and furious version that is impeccably delivered with the breathtaking clarinet work of Felix Piekli to make this version all the more memorable. Likewise, Miss Thomas “nails” every one of the nine songs in this repertoire. Her versions are extrovert where they should be and deeply impassioned and introvert when the narrative and emotions call for it. All of the music ere is, in effect, a miniature drama in itself and Miss Thomas nails the characters in them to perfection. Finding a wide palette of colours within her naturally warm voice she is equally in her element making her case in the bravado of “Fascinating Rhythm” as well as in the langorous lyricism of “The Very Thought of You”.
The enjoyment of this music and Miss Thomas’ fabulous capabilities as a vocalist extraordinaire is unalloyed whether in the ideal pacing and colouring, including where she brings endless variety to floating soft dynamics on the lyric of “In the Still of the Night” and “Close Your Eyes”. The accompaniment provided by this wonderful ensemble that includes pianist John Colianni, bassist Jay Leonhart, guitarists Russell Malone and the ever inventive winds player Omar Daniels. This makes for magical, harmonically audacious arrangements that are executed by all concerned, with aplomb. Beautifully recorded, this disc truly a disc to savour again and again.
Track list – 1: Fascinating Rhythm; 2: Our Love is Here To Stay; 3: I Didn’t Know About You; 4: You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To; 5: In the Still Of The Night; 6: One Note Samba; 7: Cheek To Cheek; 8: Close Your Eyes; 9: The Very Thought Of You
Personnel – Lizzie Thomas: vocals; John Colianni: piano; Jay Leonhart: bass (2, 3, 4, 6); Boots Maleson: bass (1, 5, 7, 8, 9); Russell Malone: guitar (2, 3, 4); Matt Chertkoff: guitar (1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9); Omar Daniels: tenor saxophone and flute; Felix Piekli: clarinet (1, 8); Bernard Linette: drums; Doug Hendrichs: percussion
Released – 2019
Label – Independent
Runtime – 36:27