Carol Welsman

Journey

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Throughout her colorful, exquisite, and jazz-driven discography, the Canadian born and raised, Los Angeles-based singer has tackled and mastered some glorious thematic challenges -- from the Japanese release of her Benny Goodman tribute, Memories of You, to Swing Ladies Swing! A Tribute to Singers of the Swing Era and the Juno Award-winning tour de force I Like Men: Reflections of Miss Peggy Lee. On the simply titled Journey, she's got the travel bug, applying her emotional, otherworldly vocal fairy dust to 14 mostly familiar, sparsely arranged tunes that carry on beautifully, with no clear "Detour Ahead." Considering that she performs on regular jaunts in Tokyo, New York, Italy, and Brazil, and has lived in France and Italy, this thematic romp was a long time coming. Produced by Welsman's veteran bandmates, guitarist Pierre Cote and drummer Jimmy Branley, Journey's heart and soul is Welsman's lush piano and vocal pairing, whose phrasing captures sly humor as easily as overtly romantic overtures. While most of the songs are in English (the spare and charming "On the Road Again," and the aching "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," the upright bass-driven super coolness of "You Came a Long Way from St. Louis"), Welsman impresses equally with her fluent French on the delightfully breezy "Volons Vers la Lune" (aka "Fly Me to the Moon") and the gently piercing "Si J'Etais un Homme." She also travels way South with a little Portuguese on the opening half of Antonio Carlos Jobim's brisk and lively "Samba de Aviao." All of this adds authenticity and a lived-in feel to the many stamps on Welsman's exciting and unpredictable (and always poignantly rendered) musical passport.

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