Marguerite Juenemann

Night Wind: In the Spirit of Fats Waller

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Don't be misled by the album title. This CD isn't dedicated entirely to the works of the inestimable Fats Waller. While his compositions are well represented, they share the program with other contributors to the Great American Songbook. The operative words are "in the spirit of," meaning that Marguerite Juenemann delivers the program the way she believes Waller would. But even this is somewhat coyly deceptive. While she applies the same level of exuberance to the music that Waller would, her own freewheeling way of dispensing the music isn't left behind. She scats the starch out of such tunes as "The Joint Is Jumpin'," mixing her wordless vocalizing with her straightforward singing. Juenemann's voice is as expressive as any of the current crop of singers, and more so than most. She sings with a deep, rich tone in a voice that obviously has strength, but which -- while being strong -- still manages to entice the listener. Juenemann recalls those music hall performers of yore who could quiet the joint with just a few words of song without hollering. Listen to her swing along on "Dream Man, Make Me Dream Some More," adding some fun, lilting wordless chanting to make this little-known ditty into a musical gem. She and pianist Art Lande spoof "Two Sleepy People," as Lande opens with a chorus of a famous lullaby as background to a couple of sleepy voices before Juenemann comes in with a relaxed version of this standard. The melodious sound she creates with her slow scatting is one of many points that make this CD so attractive. Each song receives that special, inimitable treatment that is uniquely Juenemann's. Kudos also to Lande, who stays in the swing of things, literally and figuratively.

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