Having nailed my flag to the mast already
in a previous review this month, saying
that Cleo is the world’s No.1 living female
vocalist, this time I will concentrate
on this record’s content. Being a composite
of tracks from her many albums, these
tracks come from many different sources,
both studio and live sessions. The first
two tracks are with a studio orchestra.
Feelings is recorded with John Williams
on guitar and Wave is done in true Latin
style. Pigfoot, that old Bessie Smith
stomper, is recorded live at Carnegie
Hall with a small group, several of the
other tracks, Ridin’High, Turkish Delight,
Being Alive and Send in the Clowns are
also recorded in that most marvellous
The range of material and backing used
on this selection is huge and Cleo’s amazing
ability to interpret each song to perfection
in any situation is nothing short of stunning.
She also has that very rare quality of
being a superb entertainer, as well as
an outstanding jazz artist. Husband John
Dankworth is heard to good effect on many
of the tracks and no doubt he took charge
of the musical direction. Cleo’s huge
range is shown off to good effect on many
of the tracks, in that dept. she probably
has the edge on anyone living or dead.
Turkish Delight is just that, great entertainment
and virtuoso performances from both Cleo
and John, listen to the ‘scat’ chorus
and the exchanges between alto sax and
voice that follow. I am of the opinion
that nobody else could carry that off!
As a complete contrast, next up is a Stevie
Wonder composition All In Love is Fair
and then another contrast as John Williams
returns for Let the Music Take You and
He Was Beautiful.
I was curious as to how Billy Joel’s,
Just the Way You Are would work for Cleo,
but her artistry carries it off beautifully.
The last two tracks are songs by Stephen
Sondheim, not one of my favourite tunesmiths,
but once again Cleo works her magic.
If your record collection does not contain
much of the work of Cleo Lane, here is
an excellent opportunity to catch up.
If you already own a number of her albums,
this particular selection of tracks from
her recorded works is excellent and a
most enjoyable way to spend an hour or
so…….I’ve enjoyed it several times already!