Easy Living is an especially descriptive title for this session. It's a nice and relaxed affair with Cindy McLeod's laid-back delivery conjuring up images of a nice evening of small group jazz, with vocal, at a suburban bistro. "Relaxed," but not boring nor dull. To the contrary, the combination of McLeod's Helen Merrill-like voice and style united with the excellent support McLeod receives from the other musicians on this session translates into an enjoyable, if not challenging, one hour plus of music.
There's an earnestness about McLeod's voice that demands attention. Listen to her on "Come Rain or Come Shine." While generally played in a medium beat, and often a frenetic beat, McLeod's delivery is much slower with more attention paid to the lyrics. A pleasant bonus is the solo of Brian Buchanan, whose piano provides solid support to McLeod throughout the session. The same comment on tempo applies to "I've Got the World on a String," a tune often delivered at a frenzied pace. Here McLeod moseys along, giving the listener an opportunity to appreciate the nuances of her interpretation. The Harold Arlen/Ted Koehler tune is the vehicle for Bob Tildesley's full trumpet and Kent Sangster's slightly boppish tenor saxophone to take center stage for a couple of choruses. McLeod joins Carmen McRae and Jeri Brown in vocalizing Thelonious Monk's tribute to Bud Powell on "In Walked Bud." Unlike Brown and McRae, McLeod takes a somewhat more refined approach to this homage to the great pianist. On the title tune "Easy Living," Woody Herman alumnus Bob Stroup's trombone slides behind McLeod's fervent rendition of one of the fine results of the Leo Robin/Ralph Rainger collaboration. McLeod's vibrato wavers a bit here adding to the intensity of the interpretation. As a change of pace, "Beautiful Love" is done with the piano trio of Brian Buchanan, John Taylor, and Tom Doran.
Throughout this session, it's apparent McLeod is taking each tune on the play list seriously, not skimping or taking a rest on any of them. Another fine musician from Canada, with a medium-range voice sounding pleasantly boozy at the lower end of her range.