December 10, 2017

Sylvia Brooks: The Arrangement

Jazz singer Sylvia Brooks assembled a couple of well-known arrangers (Kim Richmond, Otmaro Ruiz, Jeff Colella, Christian Jacob, and Quinn Johnson) to find new ways to tackle standards and a handful of new songs for her third studio album. The Arrangement is a multifaceted diamond, highlighting different moods and genres, with her voice smack in the middle of the mix. Latin, big band, late night lounge and more have found to an album that is a celebration of vocal jazz.

Brooks took her phrasing cues from the Fourties and Fifties when this kind of music ruled the world. It is a tall order to add something new to classics such as Body And Soul and Night and Day, but by making some subtle changes while respecting the originals the music gets another lease on life. She doesn't try to be of Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald - there's no point in trying to get that kind of intensity, but she pulls of a kind of understated swing that is nigh impossible to resist. She always close attention to the lyrics of the songs. Her version of Eleanor Rigby focuses on compassion and Midnight Sun even sounds cheerful.

Brooks wrote the words for three originals - What Was I Thinking, Maybe I'm a Fool, and Sweet Surrender - showcasing her gift for storytelling. Don't be surprised that her name does turn up in the credits on other people's albums. With the release of The Arrangement her career as a singer and writer entered the next level. No way to predict where it will end, but for now it's onwards and upwards.

The Arrangement is a self-released album. Buy it from her website.

  1. Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps (Quizas, Quizas, Quizas)
  2. Cold Cold Heart
  3. Body And Soul
  4. Eleanor Rigby
  5. What Was I Thinking (The Mirage)
  6. Midnight Sun
  7. Maybe I'm a Fool
  8. Guess Who I Saw Today
  9. Besame Mucho
  10. The Tender Trap
  11. Sweet Surrender
  12. Night And Day
  13. Never Let Me Go
  14. Angel Eyes


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