Janet Seidel

The Art of Lounge, Vol. 2

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Australia's Janet Seidel continues to work magic on popular songs of the past, many of which have become standards. Like her first volume honoring the art of sophisticated swing and ballads, Seidel chooses to work in small-group settings, sometimes with sax or cornet added, other times with strings. When the sax is in control it adds a jazzy tingling. On "Poinciana," tenor saxman Paul Williams sneaks in jazz figures behind Seidel and the strings, creating interesting counterpoint. Another highlight track is "Lonesome Road," where the singer, Maree Steinway's piano, and Chuck Morgan's guitar framed by the rhythm of David Seidel and John Morrison beget a version of this tune that is bouncy but also as relaxed as one could expect to encounter. Seidel's unapologetic admiration of Doris Day is evident with "Sentimental Journey." But there is no big band cum Les Brown here. Rather, it's another laid-back small group rendering, this time with bass, guitar, and drums. Seidel is the vocal counterpart of alto sax player Paul Desmond, who was renowned for his comfortable playing style and respect for the melody line. The closest to vocal gymnastics is on "Slow Boat to China," where the ambidextrous Baker switches to cornet. Seidel has cut eight albums paying tribute to great popular music for the La Brava label. Each is a testimony to her vocal artistry and this does no less. Highly recommended.

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