Claudia Schmidt established her credentials in the entertainment world in the Midwest as a folksinger. Since then, she has expanded her styles and venue choices, now offering her first studio recording devoted solely to the jazz style. In testing these waters, Schmidt relies on a play list of familiar standards and traditional material plus one of her originals, all of which address a variety of topics covering love and life. Using a mature and flexible set of vocal chords, Schmidt is comfortable with both ballads and medium- and up-tempo material. And despite her folk background, she has no trouble sounding jazzy and gets lots of support from her Jumpboys sextet. But if one is expecting to hear the sweet and melancholy voice of an ingénue, look elsewhere. These interpretations are the voice of a person who has been around the block more than once. But there is little dejection or depression in her voice, just no naïveté. For example, the version of "My Ship" has a slight Latin beat and tempo as Schmidt rides along on the lyrical trumpet of Dave Schock, and she's down right bluesy and brassy on "Love Is the Strongest Thing," with Steve Stargardt's saloon-hall piano riding herd over the proceedings. Her folk background is never left completely behind, sneaking in on "Undecided," where she shares vocals with guitarist Steve Little while getting some good swinging from the rest of the group. Her version of "But Not for Me" reveals a sense of world-weariness, while out-and-out passion rules on "Fever." This initial foray into jazz vocalizing has a successful outcome and hopefully is a portent of more to come. Recommended.
AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan