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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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ZOE SCHWARZ & ROB KORAL

Celebration

33Jazz 201

 

 

1. Cry Me a River
2. Donít Explain
3. Letís Fall in Love
4. My Funny Valentine
5. When I Grow Too Old to Dream
6. Letís Explain
7. Is You Is or Is You Ainít My Baby
8. Boulevard of Broken Dreams
9. The Man I Love
10. You Donít Learn That in School
11. Until the Real Thing Comes Along
12. Careless Love
13. Baby Baby All the Time
14. That Old Feeling
15. Empty Rooms
16. Sitting on Top of the World

Zoe Schwarz Ė Vocals
Rob Koral Ė Guitars

 

Not since the mid-fifties, when jazz singers such as June Christie, Chris Connor, Peggy Lee, Sarah Vaughan, and Ella Fitzgerald dominated the music scene, has there been such a plethora of highly-regarded jazz-influenced vocalists. Names such as Diana Krall, Carol Welsman, Madeleine Peyroux, Natalie Cole and Norah Jones come to mind, and so is it any wonder that such a talented singer as Zoe Schwarz has difficulty gaining broader recognition outside the UK?

With her most recent album, Celebration, Zoe Schwarz along with guitarist Rob Koral offers a sweeping review of contemporary standards, jazz and otherwise, from the whoís who of American composers. Leading off with Cry Me a River, Schwarz offers a smoky rendition of this tune but it lacks the breathy sexiness of the original Julie London interpretation .Other ballads such as My Funny Valentine, The Man I Love, Don`t Explain and Boulevard of Broken Dreams provide Schwarz with the opportunity to showcase her throaty voice and unconventional delivery. Up-tempo numbers are not neglected, with Let`s Fall in Love and Is You Is or Is You Ain`t My Baby among the most compelling. There are two original numbers on the disc - namely Let`s Explain and Empty Rooms - with the former offering deference to the Billie Holiday classic Don`t Explain. Finally Schwarz offers particularly tasty versions of You Donít Learn That in School and the closing track Sitting on Top of the World.

It is quite apparent that there is a wonderful harmonious relationship between Schwarz and Koral and it is fully reflected in the interplay between them. While this disc does not break any new musical ground, it does offer an intimacy that smoulders rather than sizzles.

Pierre Giroux



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