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Lily Swings by Lily Frost

Lily Frost sings the songs of Billie Holiday and she does it with convincing authority, on her eighth album, Lily Swings produced by Rick Kilburn and Jose Miguel Contreras. The recording consists of eleven standards (Billie Holiday standards), a group of outstanding musicians, including strings, some wonderful arrangements and an overall polished and well produced performance. Lily Frost has recorded in many different genres, ‘Cosmopolitan Pop’ seems like a fitting description of her past endeavors. This record swings, the vocalist swings as the moods swing from an upbeat country feel to a laid back - cool jazz. Lily Frost has that country slide sustain going on with her voice, her phrasing is more in the realm of the blues or folk, reminiscent of the vocal style of Nora Jones.

According to the liner notes the band accompanying Ms. Frost is the The Swinging Dukes, a band that was previously led by the late Canadian Rockabilly hall of famer, Ray Condo. Condo was Frost’s friend and mentor, the recording is a tribute to Ray Condo (5/16/1950 - 4/15/2004). The album was intended to be recorded live off the floor, a raw and real feel with a retro groove or so the notes indicate, but I find it highly polished and lacking in a free flowing energy. The song, "I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm" features the clarinet of Bob DeAngelis, his solo spot is inspiring although short. He manages to gain some freedom with flowing lines of response to Frost’s singing, and he has beautiful lyrical phrasing.

The classic Duke Ellington song, "Solitude" is a highlight. A gorgeous arrangement of strings by violinist Randy Lee, wonderful saxophone by Ross Taggart and the sweetest singing you will ever hear. A beautiful, passionate performance of this melancholy ballad that is simply breathtaking.

The band stays on track with a swingin’ feel for most of the songs, "Them There Eyes" is no exception. Bob DeAngelis swings like a member of the Original Dixieland Band, making his clarinet the lightning rod for excitement. The horn arrangements are credited to Terry Townson who also takes on the muted trumpet lines alla King Oliver. Lilly Frost sings the song as a retro bop pop tune, putting a contemporary spin to the song.

The appeal to this recording, Lily Swings is its contemporary take on the songs of Billy Holiday. Lily Frost is not an imitator, she has her own well developed sound, style and manner of covering songs. She blends well with traditional jazz musicians, the band swings and Lily Swings to her own beat. A tribute to be proud of.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Lily Frost
  • CD Title: Lily Swings
  • Genre: Jazz Vocals
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: Marquis
  • Tracks: Lover Come Back To Me, Love Me Or Leave Me, Willow Weep For Me, I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm, I Cried For You, Solitude, Them There Eyes, Now Baby Or Never, Crazy He Calls Me, Keeps On Raining, All Of Me
  • Musicians: Clive “Pops” Jackson (bass fiddle), Steve Taylor (drums), Chris Dean (guitar & banjo), Greg Shea (piano), Jimmy Roy (pedal steal guitar), Waylen Miki (piano), Terry Townson (trumpet), Steve Hilliam (clarinet, tenor saxophone), Rod Murray (trombone), Ross Taggart (tenor saxophone), Bob DeAngelis (clarinet), Craig Scott (vibraphone, glockenspiel), Chris Plock (flute), Randy Lee (violin), Capella Sherwood (viola), Alex McMaster (cello)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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