Janis Siegel

I Wish You Love

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Several of Janis Siegel's earlier solo releases away from the Manhattan Transfer have covered both pop material as well as typical jazz standards, but this outing is far more pop than usual. The goal of transforming pop material not usually covered by jazz artists into viable jazz is, for the most part, successful. Siegel has always proved herself as a singer who gives her all, and this release is no exception. Also, there are a number of fine musicians present, including a rhythm section anchored by veteran pianist Cedar Walton (with bassist David Williams and drummer Winard Harper), as well as guest appearances by flugelhornist and trumpeter Tom Harrell and tenor saxophonist David "Fathead" Newman. The most successful numbers include a memorable tribute to the late Etta Jones, singing her big hit "Don't Go to Strangers"; a warm, very relaxed medley interweaving "Mr. Sandman" and "Dream a Little Dream of Me"; and a sensational duet of the bittersweet "Guess Who I Saw Today?" with Walton. On some tracks, there's an unfortunate tendency toward overproduction, with occasionally excessive backing vocals overdubbed into the mix, especially in an otherwise very appealing rendition of "Just a Little Lovin'," Jon Hendricks' "I Want You to Be My Baby," and "I Wish You Love," where Siegel's voice is also added to the background. And at least one song, "Go Away Little Boy" (also known as "Go Away Little Girl"), is a resounding dud. These reservations should not detract Janis Siegel's fans from picking up this risk-taking CD, as the spirit of adventure and strong musicianship of everyone involved in the date make it well-worth acquiring.

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