Ginny Lynn is a Toronto area jazz singer who’s been around long enough to know some of the artists whose songs she sings, personally. That includes the one and only Louis Prima who once recruited the young Ginny decades ago, as an emergency replacement for Keely Smith, when Keely couldn’t get across the border to do a show in London, Ontario.
For some years now, Ginny has been the featured special guest at almost all of Chuck Jackson & His Allstars performances -- which includes Chuck Jackson on blues harp and vocals, with Pat Carey on screamin' saxophone and Michael Fonfara on keyboards. Jackson, Carey and Fonfara are also in the Downchild Blues Band. In addition, Carey and Fonfara are in Ginny's band on her Amore CD.
Jackson has featured Ginny many times over the years at his annual Southside Shuffle Blues Fest, held the first week every September in Port Credit, Ontario. In recent years this lineup includes Johnny Pennino, the Sax King of New Orleans, as well as fellow N'Awlins resident and friend, vocalist/guitarist Bobby Lonero, who used to play with Louis Prima and also Elvis Presley among others. Add to this illustrious roster Ginny currently performs with, rock 'n' roll sax great Jimmy Cavallo (of movie Rock, Rock, Rock fame from '56 with Alan Freed) and his bassist Chuck Sgoi -- and Ms. Lynn has and does perform with some of the best artists there ever were!
The name of this swing CD is appropriately titled Amore. It starts off with a sweet rendition of "Sugar." Ginny’s vocals possess an unmistakable foot tapping energy, that is added to by Mark Mariash’s groovin’ drumming, along with Carey’s melodic sax soloing and Fonfara’s equally hot to trot piano playing.
This lively number is followed by the classic "Sweet Georgia Brown" made famous in earlier decades by Louis Armstrong among others. This particular rendition shows off Ginny’s lilting and effervescent vocals. Fonfara’s classical background on piano shows through in his musical reply to Ginny’s vocals. Garth Vogan’s upright bass solo evokes the Big Band sound of yesteryear, admirably!
"Sweet Georgia .... " leads into the equally nostalgic "What A Difference A Day Makes." Ginny’s vocals flow smoothly on this one, as does Carey’s enchanting sax solo. This combination makes for a rendition that is both soothing and relaxing.
The title tune "Amore," is given a Latin Rumba feel, with rhythms and vocals that emanate a true feeling of ‘South of the Border’, ‘40s style .... reminiscent of the orchestras of Xavier Cugat and Jose Iturbi in decades gone by. Romance gone wrong is evoked vividly in Ginny’s heartbreaking interpretation of "Mean To Me." Fonfara’s piano playing fits in well as a counter balance to the lonely imploring in Ginny’s lyrics.
"Embraceable You" is a beautifully romantic rendition. Fonfara’s piano playing is interpretive, with full-bodied harmonies and melodic solos, which complement Ginny’s vocals. "Embraceable" is blended into a medley with "I Got It Bad," which features Ginny tearfully declaring that she’s "just crying my heart out." Carey’s melodic sax playing fits in well, as does Mariash on the drums.
Ginny’s nostalgic vocal yearnings for New Orleans are sung with conviction on "Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans." The strength felt in Carey’s sax solo seems to reflect the spirit of many in the Crescent City. The residents of New Orleans haven’t given up on rebuilding and rejuvenating this once undisputed center of jazz to what it used to be; since the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina left much of what was, in shambles in August 2005.
The Latin beat in "Quando, Quando, Quando" is invigorating, as are Ginny’s vocals. This lively rendition is certainly one of the best around. Drummer/percussionist Mariash does an admirable job in capturing the true feeling of this song, as does Fonfara’s piano solo and Carey’s saxy reply to Ginny’s dream-quality vocals.
"I’m Confessin’ That I Love You" features some incredibly melodic sax soloing by Carey, which at times carries on a musical conversation back and forth with Ginny’s "Confessin’ .." her ‘love for her man’.
"Dream a Little Dream of Me" is a swingin’ ‘n’ swayin’ number, which features Ginny’s dreamy vocals. This swing interpretation has a great feel to it, and brings back memories of Mama Cass Elliot's hit from 1968 with the Mamas & The Papas. "Someday You’ll Be Sorry" features an invigorating sax solo from Carey. Ginny sings the title lyrics in a very believable and beautiful way. Fonfara’s upbeat talent on the ivories joins in, to make this musical mixture a foot-tapping pleasure to listen to.
Fonfara’s accompaniment to Ginny’s vocals on "I Only Have Eyes For You" evokes images of listening to these two talented individuals in a 1930s honky tonk juke joint with Fonfara on upright, and Ginny singing to the avid audience. Carey’s melodic sax riffs join this musical party at just the right time, as does Mariash’s drumming, which conjures images of Gene Krupa joining in, at a smoky speakeasy. This brings back something I remember Ginny mentioning about the great Krupa visiting Ginny’s father, a fellow drummer, when Ginny was a little girl. It also brings to mind this writer as a teenager meeting Krupa after his outdoor concert at Toronto’s C.N.E. Bandshell in August 1972.
Ginny sings an uplifting rendition of the classic "I Don’t Want To Walk Without You." Fonfara’s energetic piano playing is added to on this tune, by Carey’s tasteful sax accompaniment.
Amore finishes on a high note with "I Had The Craziest Dream." Ginny’s vocals interpret this song beautifully. Fonfara’s and Carey’s enjoyable accompaniment on keyboards and sax respectfully, is much appreciated. This arrangement is well thought out and full of emotion, as are all the other songs in this nostalgic journey through some of the best-loved old-time hits around.
All the songs on Amore are given a special touch, as only Ginny Lynn and her talented band can do.