Albums

£14.38
£10.79

Vocal Jazz - Released March 22, 2013 | ACT Music

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Le top 6 JAZZ NEWS - Qobuzissime - The Qobuz Standard - Hi-Res Audio - Sélectionné par Ecoutez Voir
£14.38
£10.79

Vocal Jazz - Released September 24, 2010 | ACT Music

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
If one were to listen only to "My Favorite Things," the Richard Rodgers-Oscar Hammerstein Great American Songbook standard that opens Same Girl, one might deduce that Korea's Youn Sun Nah is just another cabaret singer with a pretty voice. The kalimba with which she is accompanying herself as she sings -- the sole instrument heard -- lends a sense of purity to the tune, and although the vocalist avoids the usual routes taken with the song, there's no real reason to get excited. Yet. Then things get interesting, fast. As she works her way through material from sources as diverse as Randy Newman, Sergio Mendes, and Metallica -- yes, Metallica; she does a mean "Enter Sandman" -- in addition to two original compositions and a Korean standard, Nah establishes that, in fact, she is incontestably an original, a jazz singer of great range, complexity, emotion, and ideas. Precision timing and sharp diction mark Nah's approach as she traverses the lyrics, but it's not only her technical prowess that makes Same Girl (her second release as a leader on the ACT label, after having spent a decade with a French band) such a delight. For one thing, she is constantly full of surprises. On the Mendes tune, "Song of No Regrets," Nah could have followed the rule book and sung the number as a samba. Instead, she turns it into a near a cappella minimalist dirge, Lars Danielsson's cello bringing to the rendition an unexpected eeriness and majesty. Terry Cox's "Moondog" is something else altogether, all jutting angles and piercing barbs, Ulf Wakenius' guitar and Xavier Desandre-Navarre's drums seemingly flailing willy-nilly behind Nah's warbles, yet somehow making perfect sense in the context of the arrangement, even when Nah breaks the solemnity with a jarring kazoo solo, of all things. For a real taste of her ability to knock a listener out cold, though, Wakenius' "Breakfast in Baghdad" is the place to go: to call Nah a scat singer is like calling John Coltrane a guy who fooled around a bit with the sax. Nah is a wildwoman let loose, treating each syllable as a new adventure in acrobatics, the musicians flying free and fancifully behind her captivating, seriously stunning ravings. Youn Sun Nah doesn't simply interpret; any good jazz signer can do that. She gets to the root of a melody and a lyric, deconstructs it wholly, and then presents it in a way it's never before been heard. Not many around who can do that anymore. ~ Jeff Tamarkin
£11.49

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1998 | Pacific Jazz

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
£13.99

Vocal Jazz - Released May 20, 2013 | Le Chant du Monde

Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
£17.49
£12.49

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1999 | Capitol Records

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard - Stereophile: Record To Die For
£55.99

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1993 | Capitol Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
For an overview of Nat "King" Cole's years as a remarkably popular singer, this four-CD box would be difficult to top. Containing 100 songs spanning a 20-year period, this box has virtually all of Cole's hits, some of his best jazz sides, and more than its share of variety, including a humorous previously unreleased version of "Mr. Cole Won't Rock & Roll." Recommended to beginners and veteran collectors alike, its attractive booklet is also a major asset. ~ Scott Yanow
£6.99

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2008 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
Jazz songwriter and pianist Patricia Barber's 2006 album Mythologies, a song cycle based on Ovid's Metamorphosis, is a sprawling work of poetic and musical adventure. Upon its release, it garnered universal acclaim from critics and responsive concert audiences across the United States and Europe. After this rigorous undertaking, Barber could have been forgiven for taking a breather. And on its surface, that seems to be what the Cole Porter Mix is. But in Barber's case, this is far from true. While she claims in her bio that she's been singing his songs for years, and that he's her favorite songwriter, she does anything but a "standard" read on his tunes, though she never undermines their integrity. The album is called a "mix" because Barber has woven three of her own tunes -- written after the manner of Porter's -- into the fabric of the album. Given her austere yet highly original readings of his songs, they fit in seamlessly. She is accompanied here by her longtime backing group of Neal Alger (guitar), Michael Arnopol (bass), and Eric Montzka (drums), with drummer Nate Smith alternating on three tunes, and guest saxophonist Chris Potter appearing on five. Commencing with the opening number "Easy to Love," with its skeletal bossa nova rhythm (Barber doesn't play in the body of the tune and only contributes a wonderfully economical piano solo), and the relative austerity of her voice, it's obvious this isn't an ordinary standards set. She is faithful to the intent of these songs both lyrically and musically, but she shifts their arrangements in such a way that they are more suited to her deliberately restrained singing voice, and her own vocation as a songwriter. It's the songwriter she is paying tribute to here -- not the tradition. "I Concentrate on You" also carries within it the kernel of bossa, but this time, with her piano fills and artfully incisive manner of accenting, to quote Porter, "how strange the change from major to minor" without invoking the blues (the standard for doing so). Barber's pianism is elegantly idiosyncratic, even enigmatic. Her "cool" singing voice peels away the weight these songs have borne over the years, and instead returns to them their subtlety and gentle sense of humorous irony. There are some wild moments here -- such as the Latin polyrhythms at the heart of "In the Still of the Night," that set up a space for some serious blowing tenor by Potter -- but the spirit of "song" is never compromised. Barber's originals are truly canny, empathic evidence of her true understanding of Porter. "Snow," with its minor-key piano intro opens with: "Do you think of me like snow/cool, slippery and white? Do you think of me like jazz/as hip, as black as night?" The mysterious, dull ache of love and lust in "New Year's Eve Song" evokes the forlorn aspect of Porter but the strange, covert voyeurism of poet Robert Lowell's "Eep Hour": "Will he/peek in the mirror while she/knowing he's watching her tease/stripping the gown with ease/bare as the New Year, she/so in love with her is he..." All the while, the sense of a taut harmonic melody is inseparable from the lyrics, unveiling the secret intent in the song for both listener and singer. The Cole Porter Mix is a very modern form of imitation, as evidenced not only by interpretation but in her evocative compositions too; they mark the greatest form of flattery. But it is also an ingenious manner of reconsidering Porter -- and Barber -- with fresh ears. ~ Thom Jurek
£11.49

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1989 | Blue Note Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
To much of the pop (as opposed to the jazz) audience, Chet Baker was known not as an able cool jazz trumpeter, but as a romantic balladeer. The two classifications were not mutually exclusive; Baker's vocal numbers would also feature his trumpet playing, as well as fine instrumental support from West Coast cool jazzers. For those who prefer the vocal side of the Baker canon, this is an excellent compilation of his best vintage material in that mode. The 20 tracks draw from sessions covering the era when he was generally conceded to be at his vocal peak (1953-1956), and are dominated by standards from the likes of Rodgers & Hart, Carmichael, Gershwin, and Kern. Baker's singing was white and naïve in the best senses, with a quavering, uncertain earnestness that embodied a certain (safe) strain of mid-'50s bohemianism. That's the Baker heard on this collection, which contains some his most famous interpretations, including "My Funny Valentine," "Time After Time," "There Will Never Be Another You," and "Let's Get Lost." ~ Richie Unterberger
£12.49

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1958 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
£12.49

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2001 | Decca

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
£12.49

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2005 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
£18.99

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1999 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
£11.49

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1993 | Capitol Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
£12.49

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2010 | Riverside

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
The ultra-hip and sophisticated "cool jazz" that Chet Baker (trumpet/vocals) helped define in the early '50s matured rapidly under the tutelage of producer Dick Bock. This can be traced to Baker's earliest sides on Bock's L.A.-based Pacific Jazz label. This album is the result of Baker's first sessions for the independent Riverside label. The Chet Baker Quartet featured on Chet Baker Sings: It Could Happen to You includes Kenny Drew (piano), Sam Jones (bass), and Philly Joe Jones (drums). (Performances by bassist George Morrow and drummer Dannie Richmond are featured on a few cuts.) This results in the successful combination of Baker's fluid and nonchalant West Coast delivery with the tight swinging accuracy of drummer Jones and pianist Drew. Nowhere is this balance better displayed than the opening and closing sides on the original album, "Do It the Hard Way" and "Old Devil Moon," respectively. One immediate distinction between these vocal sides and those recorded earlier in the decade for Pacific Jazz is the lissome quality of Baker's playing and, most notably, his increased capacity as a vocalist. The brilliant song selection certainly doesn't hurt either. This is an essential title in Chet Baker's 30-plus year canon. [Some reissues contain two bonus tracks, "I'm Old Fashioned" and "While My Lady Sleeps"]. ~ Lindsay Planer
£7.99

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1999 | Capitol Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard - Stereophile: Record To Die For
Once Nat King Cole gave up playing piano on a regular basis and instead focused on a series of easy listening vocal albums, jazz fans longed for him to return to his first love. These 1956 studio sessions made up Cole's last jazz-oriented disc, where he played piano and sang on every number, joined by several guest soloists. Cole's vocals are impeccable and swinging, while his piano alternates between providing subdued backgrounds and light solos that don't reveal his true potential on the instrument. Willie Smith's smooth alto sax buoys the singer in the brisk take of "Just You, Just Me." Harry "Sweets" Edison's muted trumpet complements the leader in his interpretation of "Sweet Lorraine." Composer Juan Tizol's valve trombone and former Cole sideman Jack Costanzo's bongos add just the right touch to the brisk take of "Caravan." Stuff Smith's humorous, unusually understated violin is a nice touch in "When I Grow Too Old to Dream." It's hard for any Nat King Cole fan to ignore these important sessions. [The original version of this release featured a dozen tracks, later expanded to 17 in the '80s with the discovery of some unreleased material. Yet another track, the alternate take of "You're Looking at Me," was also found and added to reissues beginning in the late '90s.] ~ Ken Dryden
£11.49

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2004 | Pacific Jazz

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
£10.79

Vocal Jazz - Released October 10, 2001 | ENJA RECORDS Werner Aldinger

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
£13.99

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1988 | Pacific Jazz

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
£13.99

Vocal Jazz - Released February 28, 2003 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
£12.49

Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1991 | Verve

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard

Genre

Vocal Jazz in the magazine