Marlene VerPlanck

Meets Saxomania

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Marlene Ver Planck possesses one of the world's great voices; every note she hits is perfectly in tune. Despite this talent, she is a subtle improviser who goes out of her way to bring out the beauty of the lyrics she interprets. Occasionally she will throw in a high note (as if to remind listeners of her wide range), but it is all in the service of uplifting the song. Her husband/arranger, Billy Ver Planck, wrote colorful charts on this CD for the French seven-piece, four-reed unit called Saxomania to accompany her. He left plenty of room for solos and gave the ensembles the feel of a big band despite the absence of any brass instruments. Marlene Ver Planck is in peak form, and even if a few of the newer songs ("Sooner or Later" from the Dick Tracy film and the overrated "Here's to Life") are not worthy of her, she is particularly delightful on "You Turned the Tables on Me," "Close Your Eyes," "Speak Low," and a quartet of Ellington and Strayhorn tunes.

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