Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Maynard Ferguson, Chris Connor|
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
Terrific collaboration, full of surprises.
Mary Whipple | New England | 07/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Chris Connor and Maynard Ferguson both worked with Stan Kenton in the early 1950s, but Connor has always been fairly subtle in her interpretations, a characteristic one does not associate with Ferguson. Yet here they meet in perfect unity, a remarkable and surprising collaboration in an album which shows that jazz singers and interpreters can always find a meeting ground which allows both to excel. Connor's clear, almost vibrato-less voice is strong in the lower registers which challenge many other female singers. Her ability to feel and interpret a song combines here with Ferguson's sense of drama and ability to control pacing to produce an album full of surprises.Both Connor and Ferguson recognize the impact of changes from major to minor keys and the necessity of adapting tempo to lyrics, and both performers can incorporate a variety of styles to enhance the song-blues, rock, swing, or scat-whatever works. "I Feel a Song Coming On" begins the album with a bright, fast tempo, followed by "The Wind," a slow, soft, achingly sad song in a minor key. Frank Hittner's baritone sax combines beautifully with Connor's low register to provide a strong interpretation and melancholy mood, before Ferguson's trumpet suddenly soars from its low notes into its highest. The band does not so much accompany Connor here as aid her in interpreting. "New York's My Home," a Gordon Jenkins tune, shows a variety of styles-swing, Dixieland, and blues-as the lyrics of the song take the audience from Chicago to New Orleans, St. Louis, and eventually Hollywood. Connor's ability to give life to a "story song" is seen here in the wonderful "Guess Who I Saw Today" and "Where Do You Go." In the latter, dissonance becomes a dramatic attribute, as the musicians alternate major and minor keys with a simple background, as the song gradually builds strength and takes advantage of Connor's control of her low notes. For sheer drama, this and "Deep Song," also entitled "Love is a Barren Land," win the prizes for power and impact. Ferguson and Connor bring new life to the lyrics of "Something's Coming" from West Side Story, totally controlling the mood and tempo, using scat with a baritone sax in the background, and allowing Ferguson to rise into the stratosphere with his trumpet before the song fades. These two stars are in total control here, and between them they manage to cover all the bases, creating an album of power, integrity, and pure jazz talent. Mary Whipple"