1. Something's Coming
2. On the Street Where You Live
3. Back on the Corner
4. Chelsea Morning
5. I Cover the Waterfront
6. Del Sasser
7. What Can a Miracle Do
8. Douce Ambiance
9. I'll Know
10. The Gentleman is a Dope
11. Beautiful Love
12. All the Things You Are
13. Something So Right
Jeanne O'Connor - vocals
Gil Goldstein - piano, accordion
Lee Musiker - piano
Matt Muniseri - guitar
Todd Coolman - bass
Chip Jackson - bass
Jay Leonhart - bass
David Ratajczak - drums
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click here to learn more about Jeanne O'Connor
Something's Coming (Perldisc)
by Tom Pierce
Virtually all serious artists, understandably, desire to record their first solo album, as soon as possible. Vocalist Jeanne O'Connor's initial solo recording, Something's Coming, however, aptly demonstrates the value of it occurring after the strong development of a rich career of many years, as well as meaningful life experience and perspective to draw on and develop one's craft. In Ms O'Connor's case, this career includes, for two decades, the discipline, flexibility and professionalism required to sing in the Jazz vocal group, String of Pearls, in numerous top Jazz venues around the world, as well as in a duo setting with Richard Lanham for a different set of audiences.
The depth and variety of songs on the CD is indicative of an experienced singer who's able to draw from multiple music sources: Great American Songbook standards, superior 60's & 70's singer-songwriter compositions and Jazz instrumentals with her own meaningful lyrics added. In all of these genres, she coolly maintains her poise by being energetic, without frantically over-singing beyond her capabilities.
Her choice of excellent, very experienced musicians for the various rhythm sections is even more critical to producing a CD with sufficient imagination, drive and texture to hold one's interest, over & above her more than capable singing. David Ratajczak is consistent as the drummer on all tracks. The bassists include the much in demand Jay Leonhart (an enormously interesting singer himself), Chip Jackson, a veteran of numerous recordings and Todd Coolman (a long-time mainstay on the Skidmore Summer faculty). Matt Muniseri's guitar accompanies on three tunes. The versatile Gil Goldstein plays stimulating piano and accordion on four songs, while the exceptional Lee Musiker's piano (Tony Bennett's pianist/musical director) stands out on all other tracks.
Leonard Bernstein's buoyantly optimistic Something's Coming was no doubt a no brainer to serve as the CD's opener. It sets the generally upbeat tone of the CD, which is certainly in line with Ms Connor's bright, positive persona in live performances. A lively Bossa Nova arrangement, with Goldstein's accordion, of the Lerner and Loewe standard On the Street Where You Live supplies a fresh sound to complement O'Connor's pleasing, relaxed vocals. The other timeless standards from legendary composers such as Richard Rogers, Victor Young, Frank Loesser and Jerome Kern are also superbly delivered, with the musical professionalism and grace they deserve.
Joni Mitchell's sophisticated Chelsea Morning provides an evocative, 60's Soft-Rock change of pace, that it's clear Jeanne O'Connor is extremely comfortable with. Similarly, she renders an especially touching take on the reflective What Can a Miracle Do, composed by her late husband, pianist/composer Don Grolnick (of the ground-breaking groups the Brecker Brothers and Steps Ahead, among others), with lyrics by Luther Vandross. She gives a subdued, but intense reading of Paul Simon's compelling Something So Right. Despite her extensive and sophisticated Jazz background, her treatment of other simpler music styles, both in person or on CD (like these last 3 songs) tends to be very natural and personally connected, rather than pandering for casual audience acceptance.
For Jazz lovers, perhaps the most interesting selections would be her swinging rendition (with her own vocalese lyrics, inspired by a personal relationship) of the late Cannonball Adderley bassist, Sam Jones' Del Sasser; and famed gypsy guitarist Django Reinhart's quaintly charming Douce Ambiance, with her own very appropriate lyrics, framed by Goldstein's accordion and Matt Muniseri's guitar.
This listener would also share that he found this CD definitely had the quality of growing on one, with each successive play. The gentle, unforced ease in Jeanne O'Connor's delivery and phrasing can sometimes initially mask a degree of passion & subtlety that becomes more and more evident with each listen. This bodes well for longevity of interest in this well produced recording.
Tom Pierce has had a burning passion for Jazz for over 45 years, initiated and fueled by seeing live in New York City, starting in the early 1960's, virtually every major artist still performing. He's been very happily living in Guilderland the last 5 years, as an active retiree sharing his love of music by writing online reviews for a number of web sites, preparing DVD presentations to various groups, co-Hosting Radio programs showcasing his favorite artists and busily supporting A Place for Jazz and the SwingTime Society in a variety of ways.