Sara Lazarus: Give Me The Simple Life (2005)
Sara Lazarus' debut recording, Give Me The Simple Life, shows her to be a gifted jazz vocalist with a real ability to swing. The dozen selections on the recording are well balanced, including ballads, blues and bossa. Lazarus brings a natural jazz sensibility to these songs and there is no hint of artificiality in her vocals.
The French piano trio is composed of pianist Alain Jean-Marie, bassist Gilles Naturel and drummer Andrea Michelutti, augmented by guitarist Bireli Lagrene (on two tracks) and drummer Winard Harper (on six tracks). The album opens with a spirited version of the Sarah Vaughan-associated tune "It's Crazy," and Lazarus keeps things moving with the same touch on the title tune, "Get Out of Town," and "This Can't Be Love." "Some of My Best Friends Are the Blues" gets a gritty reading and the "Foolin' Myself" is taken at a nice mid-tempo pace. Clare Fischer's underappreciated jazz standard "Morning" is a good example of lyrics that don't detract from the melody line. Some of the ballads that Lazarus adds a luster to are "He Was Too Good To Me," "I'm Thru With Love" and "Once Upon A Summertime."
All in all, this is a most impressive first effort, and I look forward to hearing a lot more!
Track Listing: It's Crazy; Once Upon A Summertime; Some Of My Best Friends Are The Blues; Get Out Of Town; He Was Too Good To Me; Give Me The Simple Life; Morning; Foolin' Myself; I'm Thru With Love; This Can't Be Love; September Song; Smile.
Personnel: Sara Lazarus: vocals; Alain Jean-Marie: piano; Gilles Naturel: bass; Andrea Michelutti, Winard Harper: drums; Bireli Lagrene: guitar (3,10).