ARTIST: Marlena Shaw
Marlena Shaw (vocals)
David Hazeltine (piano, Fender-Rhodes)
Jeff Chambers (bass)
Lenny Robinson (drums)
Saoli Sendo (percussion) on 1, 4, 5 & 6
Recorded at Sony Music Studios Tokyo on June 14 & 15, 2003
Lookin’ For Love is Marlena Shaw’s second album for 441 Records. Her previous effort, Live In Tokyo, has been successful in every sense.
Ms. Shaw is certainly a cut above most jazz singers. In this current era of what may be a surplus of female jazz singers, it is refreshing to hear a genuine jazz SINGER. There appears to be many “song stylists” in the current crop of vocalists. If you are wondering what ever happened to jazz singers? Look no further. Here is Marlena Shaw, a true jazz singer.
This new album is a terrific mix of ballads and standards. There is a recurring theme of hope and optimism here. Perhaps world events in recent years were the inspiration. The opening tune is “Hope In a Hopeless World,” perhaps a state-of-the-world message. Billy Joel’s “New York State Of Mind” is taken at a leisurely, hip medium tempo. It’s an irresistible foot tapper. Marlena adds a brief quote from “Broadway” as a tag. One of the all-time beautiful ballads, “For All We Know,” is sung exquisitely with tenderness. Elegant ease adorns Bill Withers’ “Just The Two Us” with pianist David Hazeltine on Fender-Rhodes. “Everything Must Change” brings us back to Marlena’s theme of hope and love. “Here’s To Life” gets a lively bossa nova treatment. The classic ballad “Easy Living,” long a favorite of jazz singers, gives pianist David Hazeltine some solo space. He plays with taste and sophistication.
“Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” by the great Joe Zawinul written while with Cannonball Adderley was a hit for both Cannon and Marlena in the late 60’s. Here it gets a spirited, soulful reprise with bassist Chambers the featured soloist on this soul-jazz classic. Louis Armstrong had a surprise hit record with “What A Wonderful World” and Marlena’s version here is wonderful. Marlena lets David Hazeltine stretch out on a very swinging, up-tempo “Sweet Georgia Brown,” after she shows her stuff. The closing track on this album is the timeless evergreen, “You Don’t Know What Love Is.”
The supporting players here include pianist David Hazeltine, who has been making a name for himself on the New York jazz scene. David is a regular with tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander and has several albums under his own name. On bass is Jeff Chambers, the drummer is Lenny Robinson, and on percussion for four tracks is Saoli Sendo.
Marlena’s new CD is a superb showcase for a truly original singer. Every song is a wonderful display of soulful, emotional artistry. Marlena may be lookin’ for love, but we the listeners, have found it right here.
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