Suzanne Grzanna

Fly Me to the Moon

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Suzanne Grzanna wears two hats on her debut album, Fly Me to the Moon, which finds the Milwaukee resident fluctuating between a playful vocal style and a Charlie Parker-influenced approach to hard bop alto sax playing. As a singer, she favors a girlish, playful, Betty Boop-ish sex kitten persona; her vocals are really lounge singing more than hardcore jazz improvising, and the thin-voiced Grzanna won't win any awards for having a great vocal range. Still, her singing on "My Funny Valentine," "All of Me," and "Fly Me to the Moon" is cute and entertaining even though it does wear thin after a while. When Grzanna shifts from lounge singer to hard bop instrumentalist on conventional readings of Parker's "Now's the Time," Sonny Rollins' "Tenor Madness," and John Coltrane's "Mr. PC," she leaves no doubt that Bird is her primary influence on the alto. Grzanna's tone and phrasing are undeniably Bird-influenced; what she lacks as a sax player is a recognizable identity of her own. This CD indicated that for Grzanna, a return to the shed was in order.

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