Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jane Stuart: Don't Look Back

JSM Records
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Don't Look Back

For every musician who becomes a name performers, countless others don’t ... but some of those folks definitely deserve to be better known. Many cities have “territory bands,” which keep busy with work at local pubs, clubs, colleges and other venues. Sometimes the musicians who are part of these groups are “retirees” who once worked in name outfits, and have decided to settle down; others simply never felt the urge to leave home and enter the struggle involved in becoming a star.

Of the latter, those who live in prime entertainment areas have a special advantage.

Vocalist/composer Jane Stuart is such an individual. She was born in New Jersey, brought up in New York City and attended schools with Bernadette Peters and Patty Duke. Stuart has been involved in many on- and off-Broadway productions during her career; more recently, she has been performing with her own band, and others, at the numerous musical locations offered by New York City and Jersey.

Stuart is supported here by eight musicians and a quartet of background singers. She presents a dozen melodies, including well-known standards such as “Eleanor Rigby” and “Summertime,” pop songs (“I’ll Follow The Sun”), lesser-known tunes by composers such as Dave Frishberg and Johnny Mandel, and one of her own compositions.

Stuart has an expressive voice and a delivery that favors songs that tell a story. Her vocal quality is best in her mid-range, and at moderate to low volumes. She pays strict attention to her supporting musicians, and works effectively with them.

And she merits our attention.

No comments: