On her new Jazz CD, "Here's To Love," vocalist Carol Nielsson draws from a career in musical theater to add a fresh, yet comfortable spin on old favorites. She recalls the innocent delivery of Doris Day, her voice both sweet and nuanced. She honors the songs by singing them the way they were written, reminding us why we fell in love with this music in the first place.
It doesn't hurt that she has assembled some of the finest musicians on the Pacific Northwest Jazz Scene. From Jon Goforth's smoky sax on the opening track, to Darin Clendenin's expressive piano, there isn't a weak link in the bunch. And the sparse instrumentation puts Nielsson's voice front and center.
Nielsson also brings a subtext to each song. Not surprising considering Nielsson has performed onstage in Hair and Chicago, plus the Andrew Lloyd Webber classics Evita, Cats, Song & Dance, and Jesus Christ Superstar. And she reminds us that there's a story in all the old staples. Nothing is a throwaway. Staples such as "Old Devil Moon," "Honeysuckle Rose," and "Lover Man" become interesting again because of Nielsson's interpretation. They become stronger because of her restraint.
Nielsson throws in a wild card called "Sofðu Unga Ástin Mín." In honor of her Icelandic upbringing, she sings this Viking Era lullaby. Her a cappella delivery is haunting. And Nielsson leaves you with the purity of her voice. And so much wanting more.
Artist / Group Name: Carol Nielsson
CD Title: Here's To Love
Genre: Jazz Vocals
Year Released: 2012
1. You Don't Know What Love Is
2. Old Devil Moon
3. What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life
4. Gentle Rain
5. Honeysuckle Rose
6. You've Changed
7. Baby, Baby All the Time
8. Lover Man
9. Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most
10. 'S Wonderful
11. Here's to Life
12. Sofðu Unga Ástin Mín (Viking Lullaby)
Musicians: Carol Nielsson (vocals), Clarence Acox (drums), Darin Clendenin (piano), Phil Sparks (bass), Milo Peterson (guitar), Jon Goforth (sax).
Artist Website: http://carolnielsson.com
Rating: Five Stars