Miyuki Koga

Dreamin'

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Over the years, Concord Jazz has released few albums that are embarrassing and truly unlistenable. But one Concord release that fits that description is Miyuki Koga's Dreamin', which may very well be the worst vocal album Concord ever put out. In the liner notes of this CD (which focuses on pop songs and standards from the 1910s, 1920s and 1930s), producer George Otaki explains that he didn't allow the Japanese singer to do any improvising and instructed her to follow the original melodies as closely as possible. But a lack of spontaneity isn't the thing that makes with this jazz/cabaret so disastrous -- the problem is the flat, lifeless, soulless nature of Koga's singing. Pianist Dick Hyman's tasteful arrangements and the presence of heavyweights like trumpeter Joe Wilder, tenor saxman/clarinetist Ken Peplowski and bassist Milt Hinton don't erase the fact that Koga's vocals are unswinging and devoid of color. Whether she's turning her attention to "My Buddy," "I Surrender, Dear" or "Put the Blame on Mame" (a gem that will forever be associated with Rita Hayworth's sexy performance in the 1940s film noir classic Gilda), it's painfully obvious that Koga can't sing. Dreamin' is definitely an album to keep away from.

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