Cabaret and all-around pleasing singer Mady Kaye's first album is designed to show off her versatility in performing a wide swath of good material, featuring a play list of pop and jazz standards and a four-part song cycle where she parades considerable composing deftness. As part of her musical education, Kaye studied flute. While she doesn't play the instrument here, leaving it in hands of hard bop tenor sax player Tony Campise, she appreciates its virtues (and limitations), engaging it effectively on "Up Jumped Spring" and "Autumn Song," using the instrument to create the aura of profundity that these melancholy tunes demand. She uses "Day By Day" to display her jazz credentials, complete with a half chorus of scatting and John Mills setting the jazz scene with his tenor. Loosely connected to the calendar (days, years, seasons), the play list is traversed by Kaye with perfectly accurate intonation, and she never wavers from the pitch each entry demands. There is no problem in understanding the words, nor the emotional values she builds into them. This self-confidence allows her to take risks with words and melody lines, as on "Autumn Leaves," making it one of the more compelling performances on the set. One does not get a sense that she, like some cabaret performers, is trying too hard emotionally and technically; she stays on an even keel and keeps cool and relaxed throughout. Kaye is backed by a fairly large and rotating set of fellow high-caliber musical artists; pianist Jeff Hellmer is on ten of the 13 tracks, providing consistency to the proceedings. But the revolving door of musical playmates in no way deters Kaye from delivering a set of ear-catching interpretations of songs that are worth hearing. Recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan