Mary Ann Douglas

Does Thinking Just Make It That Way?

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Southern California vocalist Mary Ann Douglas continues her series of original recordings with her third album for her Magdalene label. With her once again, as he has been on the other two releases, is pianist Mike Wofford, and their mutual familiarity permeates each track. New to the group is master guitarist Mundell Lowe, whose polished, understated style fits perfectly with the overall relaxed mood of the session. Lowe also contributed the arrangements. Another newcomer, Dave Hoffman, adds Don Fagerquist figures with his trumpet on such cuts as "Everything Looks Better After Rain." Douglas delivers her material in a light, sparkling, yet warm voice combining the best of Mildred Bailey, Blossom Dearie, and Mabel Mercer. Her writing continues to explore the various phases of love, life, and assorted emotions associated therewith, with a bit of Dave Frishberg tongue in cheek added. They come in all forms and moods. Some are upbeat in the story they tell and the tempo in which they are played, such as "Don't You Give up on Love" and "'Cause You're Good to Me." On a sultrier side is "Quiet Night," which sounds like something one hears strolling by the open doors of a smoky bistro with Lowe's guitar and John Rekevics' sax providing seductive backing for Douglas. This is one of the preeminent tracks on the disc. The harmonica of Rephael Harp helps to create a sassy, bluesy feel that underscores a questioning "Says Who?" Douglas' songs may never become entries in the Great American Popular Song Book, but they are catchy and captivating and when put in the hands of the good musicians on this CD -- playing arrangements that make the music come alive -- provide for a delightful listening sensation. Recommended.

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