"'Take Love Easy.' Easier said than done, especially when 'love' is really 'life.' Personally, I've never been great at taking anything easy, but I am absolutely eager to learn. While 'Make Someone Happy' was a reflection of where I came from, this album hints at where I intend to go, musically and personally. These songs showcase the complexity of love and the need to simply let go sometimes. That's definitely not easy, but as I'm discovering, it's absolutely crucial, both in art and in life." ~ Sophie Milman ~
Her self-titled debut album was striking. Her sophomore album was grand. Now her third and latest album is a charm. After the huge success of her first two recordings, Sophie Milman is back and this time she's offering her fans a varied and balanced material ranging from some standards from Great American Songbook, a Brazilian jazz staple, and a few contemporary songs from the pens of Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, and one of her band members, arranger/pianist Paul Shrofel.
Her second offering, Make Someone Happy, reinforced Sophie Milman's credibility as a jazz singer. It is an award-winning-album. Like "Take Love Easy," it was consistently among the top five albums in jazz charts in U.S. and Canada upon its release. Also, it ultimately bagged the 2008 Juno Award for Jazz Vocal Album of the Year. Having performed at great jazz venues such as Hollywood Bowl, Blue Note and Kennedy Center, she has really evolved not only as a singer and recording artist, but also a total performer as evident by the following accolades afforded to her amazing vocal flair and artistry.
"The sky's the limit for this exceptional young talent." ~ Los Angeles Times ~
"She's not the next Ella or Sarah, but the first Sophie Milman. One of a kind." ~ Don Heckman ~
"She captivates." ~ Downbeat Magazine ~
"She swings confidently and casually, setting things at ease through her powerful delivery. She reaches down deep for the kind of feelings that provide a memorable experience." ~ Jim Santenella, All About Jazz ~
For an opener, she sings one of my favorite standards, "Beautiful Love," with confidence and ease. It's so rare that no one has had the force to record it except, as far as I can remember, Shirley Horn. Sophie Milman has definitely made a powerful statement with her heartfelt delivery of this gem of a song. She revives the spirit of the Forties with this song and also the rest of the charmingly rendered standards in the repertoire, "My One And Only Love, "I Concentrate On You" and "Day In, Day Out."
As the disc progresses, she explores the sounds of Brazilian jazz with her wonderfully-rendered Bossa Nova flavored "Triste." And wraps the presentation up with an achingly beautiful, deeply moving song from the pens of Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman and Johnny Mandel titled "Where Do You Start?"
In retrospect, Ella Fitzgerald recorded a remarkable album with Joe Pass in 1973 titled Take Love Easy. This album is not, in any way, an attempt by Sophie Milman's producer to capitalize on Ella's album of the same title. The only common denominator is the album's title, which was recorded beautifully by both jazz singers in their respective individual styles.
To reiterate what jazz critic Don Heckman said, "She's not the next Ella....but the first Sophie Milman." Yes, I completely concur with his assessment that she's the first Sophie Milman, one of a kind. Moreover, she's not just a singer, she's a jazz stylist with compelling and unmatched vocal artistry who can give more than justice to any song she renders.
This album is sheer perfection!