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All About Jazz

DANIELA SCH Ä CHTER

Vanheusenism : A Tribute To Jimmy Van Heusen

Self-produced

 

 

 

 

  1. Here's That Rainy Day

  2. Darn That Dream

  3. Come Fly With Me

  4. Like Someone/Imagination

  5. The Second Time Around

  6. Vanheusenism

  7. All The Way

  8. Polkadots And Moonbeams

  9. It Could Happen To You

  10. Call Me Irresponsible

  11. But Beautiful

  12. I Thought About You

    Daniela Schächter - Vocals, piano

    Mike Tucker - Tenor sax

    Michael O'Brien - Acoustic bass

    Mark Walker - Drums

    Born in Sicily, Daniela Schächter resides these days in New York City but holds a position as an assistant professor of voice at Berklee College of Music, her alma mater. As well as being a vocalist, she is also a gifted pianist, citing influences as diverse as Keith Jarrett, Thelonious Monk and Maurice Ravel. While on her initial scholarship at Berklee, she studied with Joanne Brackeen, never a bad thing! She has long been an admirer of the music of Jimmy Van Heusen and this album is her tribute to him. She is joined by the tenor saxophonist, Mike Tucker who is an assistant professor in the Harmony Department at Berklee and who shows his mettle at numerous points during the recording. Bass player Michael O'Brien and drummer Mark Walker provide thoughtful support throughout.

    The album contains an embarrassment of riches, such is the quality of the material on offer. Nevertheless, one track especially commends itself, namely Like Someone In Love/Imagination, where two fine songs are blended into a satisfying whole. I associate the latter standard with singer June Christy in particular but whereas Christy sang it in a slow and languid manner, it receives a faster treatment here, complete with a touch of scat. Schächter not only sings with relish but contributes a swinging piano solo, too. I liked Mike Tucker's relaxed and creative improvisation on Like Someone In Love as well as Mike O'Brien's noteworthy bowed bass at one stage. Darn That Dream features some splendid tenor from Tucker and an engagingly off-beat vocal from Schächter. There's a rousing version of But Beautiful with Schächter on piano swinging hard and high and Mike Tucker blowing up the proverbial storm. Schächter's own composition, Vanheusenism, the only departure from the Van Heusen songbook on the disc, is a ballad where there is a vocal and a leisurely piano solo from her and a couple of snatches of Here's That Rainy Day cleverly worked into Tucker's accomplished performance. The full version of that song actually forms the opening track of the CD, where it receives a stylish waltz-time rendition on the piano and a thoroughly listenable vocal from Schächter. Tucker, for his part, proves to be a mellow musical partner.

    One of the virtues of the album is Daniela's talent for adventurous arrangements. Sometimes, as with All The Way, I would give full marks for ambition whilst not sure that the arrangement is completely successful. But other tracks, such asIt Could Happen To You, Call Me Irresponsible or I Thought About You, have a really distinctive feel about them. She definitely has a penchant for the unexpected. She has a fine voice, too, witness her scat singing at some length onPolka Dots And Moonbeams. Contrast that with Come Fly With Me which is sprightly enough but where her voice is more cabaret-style than jazz. For the most part, though, she hits the spot. Yet I have to confess a preference for her piano artistry where she is even better. Apparently, Jimmy Van Heusen composed over 800 songs, of which 50 have become jazz standards or at least so the liner notes tell us. Listening to this album, we're reminded of how important the lyricists were in the creative process. Daniela Schächter claims a particular fondness for Van Heusen's collaborations with Sammy Cahn, three of which are to be found here. For myself, I would opt for Johnny Burke, who supplied the lyrics for six songs on the disc. However that may be, Schächter deserves plaudits for doing justice to both words and music and providing a refreshing listening experience.

    James Poore


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