Barbara Lea made her reputation during 1955-1957 by recording three notable albums (A Woman in Love, Barbara Lea, and Lea in Love) for Riverside and Prestige. In more recent times, she has continued evolving into a superior cabaret/swing singer. On this CD, 20 Vincent Youmans compositions are performed, with the majority of the selections featuring Lea, pianist Keith Ingham, guitarist James Chirillo, and bassist Greg Cohen as a quartet. In addition, Chirillo takes "Oh Me, Oh My," "Who Am I," and "Why Oh Why" as guitar solos, Lea has a duet apiece with Ingham and Chirillo, the trio is showcased on instrumental versions of "The Carioca" and "I Know That You Know," and Ingham has "Hallelujah" as his piano solo feature. Vincent Youmans wrote around 100 songs during 1921-1933, including an impressive number of standards. Best known among the 20 on this CD are "I Want to Be Happy," "Hallelujah," "Tea for Two," "Sometimes I'm Happy," "More Than You Know," "The Carioca," "Time on My Hands," and "I Know That You Know," but even the forgotten tunes are generally memorable. In addition to Lea, who is in excellent form, the Teddy Wilson-inspired piano of Ingham deserves much credit for the date's success, along with the tasteful chordal guitar of Chirillo and Cohen's supportive bass. There are many subtle surprises along the way, including Lea singing part of "Tea for Two" like Joe Mooney's eccentric bop version of the late '40s, Ingham quoting a half-chorus arrangement originally played by the 1935 Benny Goodman sax section on "Sometimes I'm Happy," and a beautiful vocal/guitar rendition of "Time on My Hands." Easily recommended.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow