There are several words to describe the debut recording by Marsha Heydt. Words like, flawless, effortless, polished and intoxicating. Thirteen selections on the album and not a bad one among the bunch, with styles ranging from Brazilian to 70's funk to straight ahead jazz and then back to the blues. Ms Heydt gives us some fine remakes of classic numbers such as "Georgia On My Mind" and "The Days of Wine and Roses" mixed in with several original compositions such as "Good Feelin", "One Night" and "I Want to Know You".
Given her upbringing in rural Pennsylvania Dutch Country, not exactly a hot bed of jazz to say the least, the lady quickly found her place in life by starting piano lessons when she was only five years old. Music was in the genes, her mother a gifted pianist in her own right, and played in the local church. After seeing Phil Woods play in nearby Reading Pennsylvania Heydt knew she had not only found her passion she had found the instrument by which to transmit that passion, the saxophone. She did not however limit herself to just that one instrument she has studied guitar as well as flute and clarinet as well as voice. This huge range of talent is clearly evident on the album One Night.
Each number stands well on its own but when taken as a whole the album is a tapestry of styles and emotions that deliver on the promise few can deliver, an album of comtemporary classics that never loose sight of where they came from.
There is one track whose title can make you wonder what was she thinking when she chose it . "The Love Theme from Spartacus". Images of Kirk Douglas spring to mind and the idea of a love theme can be a little hard to grasp. Well fear not, it is gorgeous number done with a touch of Brazil thrown in for good measure, it will quickly become a favorite.
On "Well U Needn't", Heydt and Todd Schwartz play Monk's number with real respect for the artist and the legacy. The standout number on the entire recording has to be the soulful recording of "Georgia On My Mind". Played with restrained emotion that builds slowly as the number progresses, it is a hit all over again. Ray Charles could not have done better on his best day. One Night by Marsha Heydt on Blue Toucan records, a stand out debut by an artist whose timehas come and we are the better for it.