Sheila Landis


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For the fourth release with her SheLan label, singer/composer Sheila Landis takes off in a different direction. Feeling that she was taking herself too seriously with her previous efforts, she decided to go a little crazy by working the impudence and boldness of punk and new wave music into her basic jazz background, although at the time this album was cut, the new wave phenomenon was phasing out. To punctuate her decision, she dedicates the album to one of the founders of the group Steely Dan, Donald Fagen. As in her earlier records, the play list is all Landis compositions. But it's the arrangements and instrumentation where the difference lays. Calling the group that appears with her the Techno-Pop/Jazz Ensemble, they are loaded with such electronic gizmos as synthesizers, electric piano, and so on. So this album indeed resonates. But the jazz element, while taking a back seat, is still there. You can hear it in such cuts as "Once Again," as Landis uses her voice as an instrument to deliver the lyrics. Landis also continues the practice of giving her supporting musicians at least one track to themselves, as she steps aside. Here it is a bossa nova done new wave style, more the latter than the former, on "Jeff's Bossa." Aided by electronic enhancement, the trio of players led by rocker Gary "Synth" Schunk sound like a much larger group is generating all this melodious hubbub. Despite the small step back from jazz, Landis loses nothing of the vocal vivacity and excitement that has characterized her work to this point. This album has been reissued on vinyl in 2001.

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