Diane Linscott: You Must Believe In Spring (2005)
This album awakens with the confident, multi-faceted voice of Diane Linscott swinging "I Got The Sun In The Morning? in a voice you could momentarily mistake for a young Lena Horne. Momentarily, though, because Linscott's voice, lovely pronunciation, and restrained use of dynamic changes are all her own. Listeners longing for something avant-garde or seriously stylized should stay away. The simplicity in voice and subtlety of accompaniment is best described as elegance in standard American jazz.
Although Duncan Lamont's songs may not yet be considered part of the Great American Songbook, I'm sure artists who thrive on standards will be quite forgiving. So too of the Legrand/Demy/Bergmans title song (which really is a standard/popular hit, judging by the artists ranging from Bill Evans and Tony Bennett to Sylvia Syms who've recorded it). However, absent these nouveau yet delightful few items, this is an album of standards, some of which may be so dated ("Fascinating Rhythm," "Smile") that at first glance it would be off-putting to find this album in a rack in a record store. Fear not.
Some, too, may think "oh, this is supper-club music" and imagine tapping a toe now and then during its play. Not so. To hear this album is to dance. Also to sit in one's chair and think about ones we treasure with all our heart. Linscott's ability to swing and convincingly convey a meaningful personal emotion in each tune make each selection fresh.
It doesn't hurt that her band is first-rate. Their arrangements are understated and show off the emotion of each song with just enough improvisational action to satisfy jazz lovers and lyric lovers alike.
This is an album dedicated to Linscott's very best friend. The peculiar (emotionally up-down-up-down) playlist makes sense after inspection of the touching, simple dedication on the inside of the jewel box, and the clarity with which Linscott articulates each lyric she's chosen.
Track Listing: I Got The Sun In The Morning/Where Were You In April/They Say It's Wonderful/You Must Believe In Spring/Fascinating Rhythm/The Masquerade is Over/There Ain't Nothing Like The Blues/Life Is Just A Bowl of Cherries/Too Late Now - Sophisticated Lady/Smile/Blame It On My Youth/Here's To Life
Personnel: Diane Linscott, vocals; Charlie Prawdzik, piano, arranger; Billy Pillucere, bass; John Moore, drums; Perry Childs, saxophones & flute; LaRue Nickelson, guitar.