Featured Artist: Lissy Walker
CD Title: Life is Sweet
Record Label: Strawberry Canyon Records
Style: Jazz Vocals
Musicians: Lissy Walker (vocals), John R. Burr (piano), Scott Nygaard (guitar), Jon Evans (bass), Scott Amendola (drums), Steven Bernstein (trumpet, Philip Worman (cello), Dave Ellis (sax)
Review: Is Lissy Walker a jazz singer with folk influences? Or is she a folk singer with jazz influences? Who cares, as long as she is good. And Lissy Walker is really good.
Jazz, folk and country music are fused beautifully on Lissy Walker debut album, Life is Sweet. Lissy moves convincingly among these music genres with her sweet voice and deeply emotional interpretations.
Life is Sweet starts with the classy arrangement of the Johnny Mercer I Remember You. Lissy shows her jazzy side on this one, singing behind the beat, a phrasing style used by Billie Holiday and other great jazz singers.
The arrangement of Irving Berlin How Deep is the Ocean is definitely Jazz but with a touch of country. Lissy phrasing although show some country influences but the bluesy piano fills and solos by John Burr are pure jazz.
I love how Lissy plays with the melodies on Waters of March. I must have heard a hundred versions of this Jobim classic, both english and portuguese, but this is without a doubt one of my favorites english versions.
I have never been a big fan of country music, but Lissy might change my mind with her wonderful interpretation of What'll I do, I wish you love and In the wee small hours. Emotional, lovely, dreamy, sweet, Lissy vocals are simply beautiful.
With folk vocals and arrangements and a ragtime piano, Let me go reminds me at times the music Madeleine Peyroux. Moonbeam Song and Celluloid Heroes are also folk songs, but this time the arrangements and Lissy phrasing are reminiscent of one of my favorites folk band and singer, Margo Timmins of the Cowboys Junkies.
Nothing country or folk about More than you know and Irving Berlin Isn't this a lovely day. The arrangements and vocals sound like classic old jazz, proving Lissy and her band really can swing.
There is a gospel feel in John Burr piano playing and Lissy soulful vocals on Saturday Sun, adding yet another influence to Lissy Walker impressive debut album.
Tracks: I Remember You, How Deep is the Ocean, Waters of March, What'll I do?, Let me go, Moonbeam Song, More than you know, In the wee small hours, Isn't this a lovely day, I wish you love, Celluloid Heroes, Saturday Sun
Artist's Website: http://www.lissywalker.com
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Reviewed by: Wilbert Sostre