Saturday, November 22, 2014

CD Review: Carol McCartney "Be Cool"

Carol McCartney was born and raised in North Toronto, Canada and she has just released her second CD, "Be Cool".  Normally when I do a review of a new Jazz singer, I have to play the CD several times to feel the emotions of the vocalist, the musical arrangements and the quality of the supporting musicians. This was not the case for "Be Cool". Carol McCartney has a pure, strong voice and sings lyrics like she is telling her own life story.  She projects a comfortable, relaxed attitude which when combined with her perfect pitch, captures the listener who becomes totally spellbound with the lyrics and melodies. Sometimes when you listen to a Jazz singer, the recording clearly projects a singer singing with a Jazz band.  When you listen to Carol singing, her voice and the band merge and become one. The results are spectacular for any Jazz lover!

Carol is very well known throughout Canada and Internationally.  She has performed at many Canadian and International Jazz festivals.  She is also a noted Jazz educator, teaching Vocal Jazz at the University level in Canada. She is multi-talented, helped mix the songs  and was the Producer for this wonderful CD.  The songs selected for this CD are a great blend of standards, some of which you don't hear very often and yet, all the songs flow together perfectly.

I must mention the arrangers of the songs on this CD because each arrangement is outstanding. Pianist Brian Dickinson arranged the title track, "Be Cool" and also "I'm Old Fashioned", "For Heaven Sake", "West Coast Blues", "Almost Twelve" and "More Than You Know".  Rick Wilkins the multi-talented composer, arranger and Sax player did the arrangements for "Tulip or Turnip", "Ev'rything I've Got (Belongs to You)" and "Solitary Moon".  Paul Keller did "Just You, Just Me". Brian Wray did the arrangement for "S'Wonderful" and Carol McCartney wrote a wonderful arrangement for "Yesterdays".

One of the major characteristics of all great Jazz singers is they understand the value of singing with a great cast of supporting musicians. Gathering great musicians to support a singer is only half the job; the other half ,which is just as important, is to have supporting musicians that fit the singers style, voice and material.  Carol has mastered this requirement perfectly.  The musicians playing alongside Carol on this CD are nothing short of outstanding.  Each musician is a seasoned pro, and the result has produced what I believe should be a "Grammy" nominated Jazz CD. I especially want to mention the brilliant contribution from Brian Dickinson's Piano playing!

The Players:
   Brian Dickinson, Piano
   Lorne Lofsky, Guitar
   Kieran Overs, Bass
   Terry Clarke, Drums
   Chris Robinson, Tenor & Alto Sax
   Mike Malone, Flugel Horn

The Playlist:
   "Be Cool", Joni Mitchell
   "I'm Old Fashioned", Kern and Mercer
   "For Heaven Sake", Bretton, Edwards and Meyer
   "Tulip or Turnip", Ellington
   "Yesterdays", Kern
   "Ev'rything I've Got (Belongs to You)", Rogers and Hart
   "Solitary Moon", The Bergmans and Mandel
   "Just You Just Me", Greer and Klages
   "S'Wonderful", Gershwin
   "West Coast Blues" Montgomery
   "Almost Twelve", Wilson
   "More Than You Know", Youmans, Rose and Eliscu

I found a Youtube of Carol singing "These Foolish Things" that I know you will enjoy.

                                           Carol McCartney Singing "These Foolish Things"

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