Monday, November 2, 2015

Sarah Partridge: I Never Thought I'd Be Here

Origin Records
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: I Never Thought I'd Be Here

Numerous vocalists have become actresses, but I can’t think of many performers who took that trip in reverse. Sarah Partridge is one of those rare examples, and she enjoyed modest success for a decade on TV and the big screen, including an appearance in Risky Business with Tom Cruise. Then fate stepped in: While spending an evening with friends at The Improv, they talked her into participating in a karaoke contest. 

An agent in the audience was enthralled, and signed her up; thus began her musical career.

As often is the case, her love of vocal jazz had begun at home; her father was a huge fan of icons such as Ella Fitzgerald, Chris Conner, Irene Kral and Sarah Vaughan. Fortunately, Partridge has a voice that matches their talents, and that led to her success in what has become a 20-year career.

Partridge is featured regularly at many well-known jazz clubs across the country, and this is her fourth album. She has a wonderfully relaxed voice, which is great for both popular standards and jazz genre tunes. Although her first three releases focused on the American Songbook, she switched gears and wrote (words and music) all but one of the tracks here. The exception — “Around the Corner” — is by Alan Farnham, this album’s pianist, arranger and producer.

He and Partridge are joined by six other excellent musicians: bassist Bill Moring, drummer/percussionist Tim Horner, tenor saxman/flutist Scott Robinson, trombonist Ben Williams, and guitarist Paul Meyers. Partridge’s son, Ben Stein, is guest guitarist on the track “Runaway Train.”

This is a great album for listening or dancing. And if Partridge shows up at a lounge in your area, be sure to visit her.

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