Audio Mixer: Al Schmitt.
Recording information: Maggie's Farm (10/26/2011-10/28/2011).
Photographer: Andrew Southam.
Arrangers: Larry Goldings; The Sara Gazarek Band.
Sara Gazarek is one of the most winning vocalists on the current jazz scene, a singer with a voice as clear and pure as mountain air, great taste in arrangements, and a hint of wicked humor in both her repertoire and her delivery. She is also a talented songwriter herself, and on her third album as a leader she displays all of these gifts in abundance. Here she works in close collaboration with pianist, organist, and composer Larry Goldings; they are joined by bassist Hamilton Price, drummer Zach Harmon, and pianist Josh Nelson, as well as by guest artist John Pizzarelli (who sings and plays guitar on the wonderful "Blossom & Bee" and contributes rhythm guitar to a pleasingly hard-swinging arrangement of the vaudeville song "Some of These Days"). Gazarek's musical vision is wide-ranging, and on this album jazz is more of a touchstone than a straitjacket -- it's what connects the romantic Ben Folds ballad "The Luckiest" with an alternately funky and swinging rendition of "Down with Love," and bridges the divide between the Blossom Dearie weeper "The Lies of Handsome Men" and a delightful take on the Schoolhouse Rock! classic "Unpack Your Adjectives." And it's what turns "So This Is Love," perhaps the most affecting of all Disney movie songs, into a deliciously swaying bossa nova, complete with a fantastic scat section. This is an utterly captivating album, one on which all musical barriers seem permeable and Gazarek's voice is a source of constant delight. ~ Rick Anderson
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