Diane Hoffman: My Little French Dancer (2008)
Tenor saxophonist Jerry Weldon, guitarist John Hart and pianist Oliver Von Essen provide a big lift, keeping the session immersed in a jazz arena through statements that recall Rollins, Montgomery and Monk respectively. Rhythms vary from upbeat beguine to remorseful ballad on a program that includes "Gone With the Wind," "Close Enough for Love" and "When Love Was All We Had." Each harbors a statement of love lost, memories retained and a void existing where there was once companionship.
Hoffman's similarity to Carmen McRae comes through with a forceful, don't-hold-back approach where seamless phrasing pushes lyrics forward without hesitation. The grit in her voice and a touch of angst ensure a dramatic session steeped in experience. "Well, You Needn't" and "Blackberry Winter" provide the best evidence of her strengths, "Sunday in New York" recalls the good times with a light spirit amplified by Weldon's upbeat tenor and "Two Years of Torture" has fun with the blues. To celebrate a life and mark the passing of a close friend, Hoffman has created this program with care. She recalls both sides of her dear friendship through music; she's saddened by the loss, but buoyed by the good times that were had together.
Track Listing: Gone With the Wind; Well, You Needn't; Close Enough for Love; When Love Was All We Had; Blackberry Winter; You're My Thrill; Sunday in New York; Two Years of Torture; Yellow Days; Farewell, Noelle; When Did You Leave Heaven?.
Personnel: Diane Hoffman: vocals; Oliver Von Essen: piano, organ; Ulysses Owens: drums; Peter Martin Weiss: double bass; John Hart: guitar (3, 4, 5, 9); Don Militello: Fender Rhodes electric piano (8, 11); Jerry Weldon: tenor saxophone (1, 2, 7, 8, 10, 11).
Record Label: Self Produced