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Gerard Hagen/Leslie Lewis: Of Two Minds *

Track List

>In Walked Bud
>I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good
>Nature Boy
>Honeysuckle Rose
>'Round Midnight
>Well You Needn't
>How Deep Is the Ocean?
>Hello Young Lovers
>But Beautiful

Album Notes

Usually a featured vocalist with an orchestra, a side vocalist with instrumental stars, or a dancer amongst a troupe, Leslie Lewis here presents her take on a number of classic pieces. In the choice of compositions, there's an almost even split between the straightforward, relaxed romances of the Great American Songbook (composers include Irving Berlin, Van Heusen, Rodgers & Hammerstein, etc.) and the off-kilter, exploratory pieces of Thelonious Monk. There's also a stray piece between the two extremes with Eden Ahbez's outstanding "Nature Boy." To her credit, Lewis is able to take on both ends of the spectrum. On the Monk pieces (and incidentally on Fats Waller's "Honeysuckle Rose," a favorite of Monk), she reverts to something of a Lambert, Hendricks & Ross sound, with a scat-like delivery masking a surprisingly smooth voice. "In Walked Bud," the opening track here, stands out as an excellent piece and one that won't often be done by vocalists. Her approach to the songbook pieces is a little more of a nightclub croon, bringing out a little bit of force to put behind the lyrics. Not a bad outing for Lewis, breaking the standard lounge singer aesthetic in favor of some more intimate artistry. ~ Adam Greenberg


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