Thursday, May 12, 2016

Lyn Stanley: Interludes

By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Interlude

This is a beautiful album, first-class in every way, starring a multi-talented woman graced with a flawless voice. 

But it isn’t true jazz.

Lyn Stanley is quite exceptional. She’s a college graduate with a PhD in communications, and a successful career in business. She has won championships in USA DanceSport, and placed third in a World ProAm event. She also has studied voice under coach Annette Warren Smith — famed jazz pianist Paul Smith’s wife — and is an audiophile fanatic. Stanley’s recordings have been released on high-end vinyl, SACD stereo and reel-to-reel tape.

(Incidentally, Stanley dedicated this album to Paul Smith.)

Interlude has a lot going for it, starting with 14 classics from the Great American Songbook, with excellent arrangements by some of the music world’s best. Additionally, the two bands supporting Stanley include some truly great artists: among others, pianist Bill Cunliffe, bassist Chuck Berghofer, trombonist Bob McChesney and guitarist John Chiodini.

Stanley’s voice is flawless: Her tone, range, enunciation, warmth and phrasing are superb, and she “sells” a song as well as anyone alive today. No surprise, she’s quite popular. Her albums sell in the tens of thousands globally, which — considering the relatively limited “buying audience” that exists for jazz today — is exceptional.

So, why the caveat regarding her style? Well, Stanley doesn’t swing like artists such as Anita O’Day, Kim Nazarian, Ella Fitzgerald or Billie Holliday. Stanley is more like Sarah Vaughn, although she could swing like crazy, when it suited her. (Remember her cover of “Cherokee”?)

Still, anyone who collaborates with the range of arrangers, producers and musicians assembled for this album — and her earlier releases — surely has a passport to the jazz genre, as far as I’m concerned. Call it what you will, this much is certain: Stanley is in a class by herself.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks Ric for this wonderful review! I am glad someone finally recognizes Jazz is a uniquely open creative genre, not meant to be pigeon-holed into specific criteria to describe it. I am the new face of jazz, the one that's selling globally and it is rooted in the greats of the past plus the dance history of jazz and encircled with today's jazz musician ideas and expressions. Like classical music, from Mozart and Bach to DeBussy and Wagner, today's "true jazz" has various colors and complexities that make it difficult to fit anywhere except in this versatile genre. I appreciate the audition and commentary on my work. More to come..I have a ballads album with a special tribute to Stanley Turrentine forthcoming and a big band project in the foreseeable future. Thank you again. Lyn Stanley