Amy London

Let's Fly

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Although jazz vocalists and cabaret/Broadway vocalists have some common ground when it comes to repertoire (namely, Tin Pan Alley songs), there are major differences between the two. Jazz vocalists improvise; they scat sing, write lyrics to Charlie Parker classics, and do other things that they wouldn't normally be done in a cabaret or theatrical environment. But that isn't to say that a jazz vocal album cannot have some cabaret-isms or some Broadway-isms; Amy London's Let's Fly, for example, is a memorable jazz vocal CD that incorporates cabaret and Broadway elements at times. There is a theatrical quality to London's phrasing; she has, in fact, performed in musicals in the past, and it shows. Nonetheless, vocal jazz is the dominant ingredient on this 2009/2010 recording, which offers a recipe of scat singing, vocalese, and improvisation along with the cabaret-isms and Broadway-isms. London brings her clean articulation and impressive vocal range to a variety of material, successfully tackling everything from Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Estrada Branca" aka "This Happy Madness" to Annie Ross' "Let's Fly" to Elmo Hope's "My Darling Monique" (which London adds original lyrics to), and the Charles Mingus standard "Duke Ellington's Sound of Love." Too many jazz vocalists have an "all Tin Pan Alley all the time" policy, but that isn't a problem on Let's Fly. Although she embraces Harold Arlen's "Out of This World" and Irving Berlin's "How Deep Is the Ocean," London doesn't inundate us with Tin Pan Alley warhorses, and much to her credit, she has no problem bringing Joni Mitchell's "All I Want" and Laura Nyro's "I Never Meant to Hurt You" into a jazz-oriented environment. London also embraces Artie Butler's "Here's to Life," which became the late Shirley Horn's theme song; instead of emulating Horn, London wisely takes the song in an unexpected medium-tempo direction. Let's Fly has its share of surprises and is a consistently enjoyable listen from this Cincinnati native/New York City resident.

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