Janet Seidel

The Art of Lounge

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Performing since she was 17, Janet Seidel is now one of Australia's more prominent vocalists. She records exclusively for the La Brava label. Despite the title of her latest effort, this is by no means an album of easy listening, lounge type music. Even though there's the presence of a heavy cadre of strings on several tracks, they are offset by the presence of musicians steeped in the jazz tradition, such as Tom Baker on tenor sax. Also having a jazz flavor, "I've Got a Crush on You" is done in a small-group setting; Paul Williams provides a mellow background, and his clarinet contrasts nicely with Seidel's simple, straightforward rendition of this popular classic. Even on those tunes where the strings are present, there is still a feel for jazz. A slow-paced arrangement of "The Sweetest Sounds" mixes the strings with Kevin Hunt's melodic piano playing. With a voice that combines all the good features of Blossom Dearie with some Peggy Lee and Doris Day stirred in for seasoning, Seidel is at home in a number of styles. She can lull you with a sentimental ballad and then get naively erotic with a blues. She gets together with Col Nolan's Hammond B3 organ for a version of "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You" that blends innocence with allurement. The Latin beat gets a nod with "Mas Que Nada," and a touch of soulful regret is heard in "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying" behind Tom Baker's wailing tenor sax. There's a come hither quality in her interpretation of "Love for Sale," featuring Baker on cornet. Seidel takes on a poetic bearing on "Fools Rush In" which, as much as any track, reveals her ability to convey the essence of the story embedded in the lyrics she sings. Irrespective of genre, all the tunes are delivered in a delightful, ear-catching, engaging manner. Featuring Australian musicians of the highest caliber, this CD of more than 60 minutes of varied vocalizing is highly recommended.

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