Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Lucia Jackson: “You And The Night And The Music” (2018) CD Review

Lucia Jackson has been working as a dancer, and is now about to release her debut album as a jazz vocalist. The album, You And The Night And The Music, features arrangements by her father, Ron Jackson, the guitarist, who also plays on this release. Also joining the vocalist on this CD are Yago Vazquez on piano, Matt Clohesy on bass, and Corey Rawls on drums, as well as a few guests on certain tracks. The songs selected are largely standards, but there is also an original composition by Lucia Jackson and Dan Garcia.

Lucia Jackson opens with a Cole Porter song, “Just One Of Those Things,” an excellent choice to get things started. This rendition moves along at a good clip. It’s the work on guitar that first grabbed my attention, but this track features some wonderful work on piano too. And the bass keeps things pumping along. I also dig the drums toward the end of the track. The focus, of course, is on the vocals, and Lucia Jackson’s voice here has a bright, friendly feel. She finds plenty of places to go to keep things interesting and fresh. Then there is a sweetness, an innocence to her voice at the beginning of “Beautiful Love,” heard in the way she delivers words like “mystery.” But she finds different levels here too, perhaps letting the lyrics dictate the approach or allowing herself the freedom to move about within the vocal line. There is more wonderful work on guitar here.

Interestingly, Lucia Jackson then chooses a recent pop song, Julia Michaels’ “Issues,” a song that came out only last year. Everyone I know seems to be bothered by certain choices that people make with regards to words, certain errors. For example, I tense up whenever an actual living person is referred to as a “legend.” That irritates me. I am also annoyed when someone mistakes “celibate” for “chaste” (“celibate” simply means “not married”; it has nothing to do with sex, or a lack thereof). My dad takes umbrage with the use of “issues” in place of “flaws,” and I couldn’t help but think of that when listening to this track. The word “issue” can mean a point that could be disputed, or a matter that needs to be decided, but it does not mean a flaw or defect. To my ears, Lucia Jackson’s rendition is much better than Julia Michaels’ original version, but it is still probably the weakest track, not in terms of its execution, but just as a song itself.

Lucia Jackson delivers a slow, sparse, intriguing rendition of The Beatles’ “And I Love Her,” here titled “And I Love Him.” Her tender vocals are accompanied only by Ron Jackson on guitar. That’s followed by the album’s title track, “You And The Night And The Music.” Here she has a sweet and almost delicate approach at first, her voice accompanied again by only guitar. Then the band bursts in, and the track begins to swing and rock. This track features an excellent lead part on saxophone, which helps to make it one of the album’s highlights. That’s Yaacov Mayman on tenor sax. And that song is followed by my absolute favorite track on the CD, “I’m A Fool To Want You.” I love the way this one begins, transporting me to some European street, imbued with romance and heartache. This track features guest musicians Frederika Krier on violin and Javier Sanchez on bandoneon, and their presence adds tremendously to the great sound and mood of this one. Plus, Lucia Jackson’s vocals are gorgeous and moving.

“Feel The Love” is the album’s original composition, written by Lucia Jackson and Dan Garcia. This one too features some guest musicians, including the song’s co-writer on flamenco classical guitar, and Samuel Torres on percussion. “Feel the love/Let it take you home/Where your past remembers.” That’s followed by a pretty rendition of “Sophisticated Lady,” and then a playful rendition of “No Regrets,” written by Ronnie Ingraham and Harry Tobias. This version includes an extended instrumental section featuring some nice work on both guitar and piano. (By the way, on the back of the CD case, Tom Rush is listed as one of the songwriters. Though Tom Rush did write a song titled “No Regrets,” and that song has become a standard too, none of those lyrics are included here.) The CD concludes with a joyful and sweet rendition of “When You’re Smiling,” which includes a bit of scat and a bass solo. “When you’re smiling, when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you/When you’re laughing, when you’re laughing, the sun comes shining through.”

CD Track List
  1. Just One Of Those Things
  2. Beautiful Love
  3. Issues
  4. And I Love Him
  5. You And The Night And The Music
  6. I’m A Fool To Want You
  7. Feel The Love
  8. Sophisticated Lady
  9. No Regrets
  10. Never Let Me Go
  11. I Fall In Love Too Easily
  12. Toda Una Vida
  13. When You’re Smiling 
You And The Night And The Music is scheduled to be released on September 14, 2018.

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