Four and a half VERSATILE Stars! A Marvelous Debut! This CD captures Australia's talented jazz singer, composer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist Elizabeth Geyer in her recording debut of ballads, blues, latin and straight-ahead swingers a decade ago. Her last two highly-regarded CDs, On Patrol With the Jazz Police with her own intriguing compositions and The Dream with the songs of Tony King and Ms Geyer, were very personal, but this recording centers on well-known standards in the jazz and popular music world from the likes of Chick Corea ("Spain"), George Gershwin ("Summertime"), Bobby Shew ("Nadalin"), Irving Berlin ("Let's Face The Music And Dance"), Joni Mitchell ("Both Sides Now") & others. Presented in a variety of settings, she puts her own unique spin on these classics, with her clear, burnished, easily-recognizable voice, expressive piano, and blazing flugelhorn work, the combination of which clearly separates her from the competition. Classically-trained, she also has a degree in music performance from Adelaide University. She sometimes plays both piano and flugelhorn or trumpet simultaneously. Outside of solo performances here, she is also augmented by her rhythm section: pianist Kevin Hunt, bassist Gary Holgate or Natalie Morrison, and drummer John Morrison or Nicholas McBride; and on one track she fronts the very hip John Morrison Swing City big band as singer and soloist.
The 'best of the best' begins with an instrumental version of Bobby Shew's latin-flavored "Nadalin" distinguished by Ms Geyers evocative and nicely-nuanced flugelhorn solo. The touching vocal anthem "Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most" includes the rare 'intro verse' sung by Ms Geyer who is also featured on piano and flugelhorn. A soaring "Green Dolphin Street", alternating between latin and 4/4 swing tempos, features hot solos from Geyer's flugelhorn, Hunt's piano, and 'fours' traded with the rhythm section. The sizzling Chick Corea/Al Jarreau classic "Spain" is uptempo vocals and exciting scat, plus inspired instrumental solos from Geyer and pianist Hunt. A very effective "Summertime" has Geyer's solo vocal alternating with synchronized scatting and piano, all over a boiling Brubeck "Take Five"-like tempo. The rubato "Both Sides Now", "All The Things You Are", and "Easy Living" are full of out-of-tempo expressive voice flourishes and with affecting piano comping. A soaring "My Favorite Things" journeys from vocal to trumpet solo to scat (and it went straight to my IPod, along with "Nadalin"). On the final track, with the John Morrison Swing City big band, she delivers a salute to big band torch singers and brass soloists with a sultry version of the Mercer/Arlen classic "Come Rain or Come Shine" on voice and flugelhorn. The sound of this CD is clear, intimate, and outstanding, so we can hear that Elizabeth Geyer's versatile talent, as we know it today, was in an advanced stage of maturity. And she has a special way with Jazz classics and popular music standards: her way! For those who missed this CD a decade ago, this is another chance to hear a very-talented jazz singer and multi-instrumentalist. Highly Recommended! Four and a half IMPRESSIVE Stars. (Audio CD: 12 songs; time-57:31)