Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Ann Hampton Callaway|
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
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A worthy, if somewhat disjointed, effort
Paul Higgins | st. louis, mo USA | 11/27/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Anytime one tackles the "standards", the challenge is to bring something "new" to a recording and yet maintain the integrity of what made the song a standard to begin with. And just like some cable stations use the same word "classic" to describe movies like "Top Gun" (versus say, "To Kill a Mockingbird"), there is a danger in mixing songs of varying vintages.I've seen Ann Hampton Callaway perform here in St. Louis, and it is not a criticism to say she is a very fine lounge singer. This effort shows her strengths in that area, though I found this release to be good, not great. Her rendition of "Old Devil Moon" is quite good, and I am trying to figure out how other reviewers could be so harsh in their assessments given this and tracks like "My Funny Valentine"- certainly, these interpretations can't be too disappointing versus the other renditions in existence.
On the other hand, some of the material and the "flow" of the album if you will, do seem to disappoint when placed next to some of the better tunes. "The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face" is well done, but I'm not so sure it doesn't make most people think of going out and getting Roberta Flack's benchmark rendition On the other hand, her take on Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" takes the song right out of its MTV 80's sound and puts it squarely into a heartfelt grown-up-jazz singer context. And,I can still put on Calloway's "Old Devil Moon" next to Sinatra's and it doesn't suffer for it.Bottom line: If you are looking for alternative renditions along the line of Cassandra Wilson, you will be disappointed. If you want an end-to-end run of undeniable standards, you'll be disappointed. But, if you want a collection of popular music sung by a singer with more vocal talent than most of the women you hear on radio today, you will find several nuggets on this that release that make it well worth its purchase."
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 02/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ann Hampton Callaway is so good, so naturally gifted, so willfully perfect that the main challenge she must face is to scale back her talents sufficiently to make them accessible to the listening public. Even though this album, down to the omission of a trap drummer, evokes Sarah Vaughan's "After Hours," the approach is at once more understated and calculated than that on Sassy's session. I had mixed feelings about Ann's earlier album, "Ann Hampton Callaway"--frequently energizing and inspiring but also overwhelming and overscored.On "After Hours" the accompaniment doesn't get in the way or become redundant, and Ann seems less to "perform" ballads like "Valentine" and "It Never Entered My Mind" than to "breathe" them, infusing them with new life and welcome fresh perspectives. The latter song, which has overmatched many a singer (Sinatra and Carmen McRae are the striking exceptions), is a stunner. On the crucial phrase, "scratch my back myself," Ann makes it work not through seamless continuity (Sinatra) or onomatopoeia (Carmen) or the tempting "big crescendo" but through daring melodic choices and a willingness to let a couple of her notes hang naked, unsupported by the reassuringly sumptuous timbres of which she is capable. A performance such as this (Jack Jones' recent musical tribute to Tony Bennett is another) should be ineligible for "stars" awarded by unknowing listeners like me. Music of this order judges the listener more than vice versa."
A lounge singer?
G. Axelson | Oakton, Virginia United States | 09/08/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ignore the tin ear knife job below. Rex Reed, Stephen Holden from the New York Times, John Simon from New York Magazine and a long line of others all agree this lady is a tremendous talent. Who are you going to believe? You can reasonably argue that this particular CD is neither for everyone nor her best, but check out the rest of her work. Go listen to Old Friend on Sibling Revelry or My Foolish Heart on Ann Hampton Callaway, etc, etc. She's the genuine article. And comparing her to Liz is comparing jazz to broadway. They're both good. They're also different. They're supposed to be."