A pleasing singer in her mid-twenties, Alex Pangman loves the music of the 1920s and '30s. For her second recording for the Canadian Sensation label, she performs 13 vintage obscurities plus a lone standard ("Prisoner of Love") and her own "Melancholy Lullaby." Although her voice is small, it is personable and she digs into the lyrics of such early gems as "Mama's Gone Goodbye," "I Had Someone Else Before I Had You," "Through the Courtesy of Love," "Concentratin' on You," and "Careless." Particularly intriguing are the four separate groups that the singer uses. Her Jazz Manouche is a quartet with trumpeter Chris Whitely, two acoustic guitars, and bass. Her Hired Hands is more in the Western swing vein with trumpeter Peter Ecklund, violinist Erin Solomon, and Whitely on steel guitar, plus two guitars, piano, and bass. Her Alleycats is a more conventional septet with three brass horns (including Jeff Healey on trumpet and guitar), while her International All Stars is a sextet with the Bix Beiderbecke-inspired trumpet of Dick Sudhalter. With the variety of instrumentation, the obscure material, and Alex Pangman's enjoyable voice, it makes for an excellent set of revivalist jazz, easily recommended for fans of trad and 1920s-style music.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow