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Solitaire Miles - Born to Be Blue (2010)
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Solitaire Miles - Born to Be Blue (2010)

31-01-2014, 07:11
Music | Jazz | Vocal Jazz

Solitaire Miles - Born to Be Blue (2010)

Artist: Solitaire Miles
Title Of Album: Born to Be Blue
Year Of Release: 2010
Label: Solitaire Miles
Genre: Jazz, Vocal
Quality: Mp3
Bitrate: 320 kbps
Total Time: 50:49 Min
Total Size: 123 Mb


1. Baltimore Oriole
2. Too Close for Comfort
3. Born to Be Blue
4. You Gotta Crawl Before You Walk
5. Lover Come Back to Me
6. Detour Ahead
7. Moon Ray
8. Midnight Blue
9. Make with the Kisses
10. Serenade de Clair de Lune
11. Me and the Moon
12. I'll Never Be the Same

Solitaire Miles has always loved swing tunes. Her grandmother, a singer with a big band in the late 1930s, exposed her to the music early on. Solitaire originally planned to be an opera singer, but while attending DePaul University in Chicago, she met the legendary swing violinist Johnny Frigo who encouraged her to sing jazz. After college she began working in Chicago with Sax Maestro Von Freeman, and pianist Willie Pickens, who also played on her self-titled release in 2006. "I was lucky to have their guidance, because they were playing jazz with the greats in their day.” During later years while living in New York, she would sit in regularly with the great trumpeter Doc Cheatham, learning lots of swing tunes. From these venerable bandleaders, she learned more about phrasing; “They wrung every little bit of pop styling from my phrasing until it became authentic, unadulterated jazz and swing."
For her third release Born to Be Blue, Solitaire utilizes some of Chicago's top jazz musicians, all of whom have the flexibility to sound at home in a swing combo. “Willie Pickens is always my first choice on piano,” says the singer. “I love working with him because he is not just accompanying me, we listen closely and challenge each other.” A few of the numbers feature pianist Joe Vito who was Johnny Frigo's regular accompanist for years. Some selections include tenor-saxophonist Jim Gailloreto, while the versatile trumpeter Art Davis is heard playing in a conversational style not that dissimilar from Doc Cheatham's.
Born to Be Blue begins with “Baltimore Oriole” which composer Hoagy Carmichael performed in the Humphrey Bogart movie “To Have and Have Not". “It's a quirky song with a period feeling.” Solitaire says. The haunting vocal and concise solos by Pickens and Davis perfectly fit Carmichael's unusual tale. “Too Close For Comfort” is associated with several singers from the 1950s including Ella Fitzgerald, but Larry Kohut's arrangement, which begins as a duet by Solitaire with drummer Phil Gratteau, puts a new spin on the standard. One particular joy of this CD is hearing a lot of fresh material, and vintage songs that deserve to be revived. “Born to Be Blue” is one of Mel Torme's best originals while “You've Got to Crawl Before You Walk” was the only tune co-written by Torme and Duke Ellington. “Detour Ahead” was Johnny Frigo's most famous original, so it naturally features Joe Vito on piano and is a tribute to the violinist and Jim Gailloreto contributes a tasteful solo to this emotional version. Since she wanted to record several obscure songs that the musicians weren't too familiar with, Solitaire added “Lover Come Back to Me." "It's the type of jam session tune that we play late at night, an up-tempo number that lets everyone stretch out.”
It isn’t often that one gets to hear such superior, if forgotten numbers as Artie Shaw’s “Moon Ray”, which has prominent roles for bassist Joe Policastro and guitarist Andy Brown, or “Make With the Kisses” which features Art Davis and guitarist Neal Alger, and is a delightful romp that has rarely been performed since Mildred Bailey recorded it with Benny Goodman 70 years ago. One can easily imagine Billie Holiday performing "Midnight Blue." which features more ingenious improvising by Art Davis. Most unusual is “Serenade de Clair de Lune,” a version of Glenn Miller's theme song “Moonlight Serenade” sung in French. Joe Vito adds to the cafe atmosphere by switching to accordion with Neal Alger strumming on acoustic guitar. Other songs include “I'll Never Be the Same,” and the charming “Me and the Moon” a sweet band favorite which was originally recorded by the Hal Kemp Orchestra in 1933.
Throughout this project Solitaire and her musicians are not content to merely recreate the past but are creative within the style, adding to the music's legacy. While Solitaire can name a long list of influences, not the least of which was her Grandmother, she does not sound exactly like any of the singers who preceded her. Nor do her sidemen sacrifice their own individuality while doing justice to the material. Instead, they all fully understand the music and are able to add their own voices to the songs while being themselves.
This delightful set not only proves that there is still plenty of life to be found in swing tunes, but it features Solitaire Miles at her very best, taking her place as one of the top swing singers around today. (Scott Yanow, jazz writer and critic)

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