Paul de Bruijn,
Her vocals are very clear, making the lyrics easy to hear. The musicians backing her are also very good and help to create the mood of the CD. The music of "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" starts off with the bass on its own, and then there is a progression until the full band is going. A pair of songs about love lost are put together, "What'll I Do/The Tennessee Waltz," and you can feel the switch but her delivery helps tie the two together. The blues continue into "Born to be Blue," and you can almost taste the sorrow in the words. The brighter edges that she hinted at bloom to fullness in "Joy Spring," the lyrics bubbling out very quickly in places. Her voice drifts gently in "Dindi" as a quiet passion flows through the melody and words. Love remains at the heart of the next song; "It Amazes Me" is a response to the mirror of another's eyes. There is a childlike feel created by the delivery and the lyrics of "Dat Dere." It slides back to build on the mood set by "Dindi" and "It Amazes Me" in "Make Someone Happy." The arc continues through "Beautiful Love" and the sorrows of the early songs is now complete replaced by joy.Both parts of "Scrapple from the Apple/Honeysuckle Rose" dance quickly as both music and words are delivered crisply. The melancholic "You Don't Know What Love Is" pulls to the threads tying the songs together to the fore. The heart of this CD lies in "Answer the Call," one of the best songs on the CD. She lightens the mood with "Just Squeeze Me" and you are released with a smile. It Amazes Me never becomes sappy or overly sentimental; Jenny's voice and the music keep the songs feeling real. There are some very beautiful love songs on the CD, just as there is some wonderful jazz to be found here.
Doug Boynton, Girl
Ms. Davis reminds me of Stacey Kent, with that strong, yet feathery voice. Except that Ms. Davis has not one but a couple of really good sax players to back her up. She's assembled a nice group to back her - the disc begins with a top-notch rendition of Duke Ellington's "It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing);" for my money, one of the highlights of the disc, and a great introduction to Ms. Davis' fine sense of swing In fact, it's tough to find lowlights on this one. "Just Squeeze Me" is a fine showcase for both Ms. Davis' voice, a nice showcase, too - for both Willy Ingersoll and Chuck Easton on sax. Both of them take a solo turn on this track,
along with Ted Enderle on Bass, George Radenbaugh on piano, and Tim Sheffel on drums. A fabulous backing group. "What'll I Do" is coupled with "Tennessee Waltz" on an delightful medley that highlights Ms. Davis, and the great chemistry between all of them. And for what it's worth - I'm always saying that cover art, and the general look-and-feel of the packaging counts. This one is nicely done. It'll be worth the search. Recommended!
All About Vocals.com
It Amazes Me is an adventurous recording, Jenny's vocals fuse with inspired solos by Easton, Radegaugh and Willy Ingersoll, creating and complex improvisations that highlight her voice as a technically superior instrument. Davis invites the listener to explore the music much in the way of an instrumentalist. To delve inside the vibrant bebop standards that is usually performed instrumentally such as Clifford Brown's "Joy Spring" and Charlie Parker's "Scrapple from the Apple".
From the poignantly tender
title track "It Amazes Me" to Duke Ellington's hard swinging "It
Don't Mean a Thing (if it ain't got that swing)" Davis takes the listener
on an exploration of vocal heights and emotional depth that few vocalists have
the heart, or talent, to traverse. Davis is a true jazz vocalist who displays
chops with pleasing vocal quality.
Herbert Sherbert, Indie Music Reviews
Well crafted and professionally performed.
Chris Spector, Midwest Record Recap
Anyone that gets the high sign from Bud Shank, appreciates Comden & Green, does equal justice to Oscar Brown and Tom Jobim and sings like a jazzy angel is ok with us. Davis is a classic jazz vocalist that knows which end is up and has an special affinity for the classics, chestnuts and oldies but knows how to make them her own without making them feel corrupted. Way more than cocktail jazz, this is the real thing and it's just going to knock you off your pins.
This canary soprano is still pleasantly clear and free of affectation.
Adam Greenberg, All Music Guide
On her sophomore release, Seattle jazz singer Jenny Davis brings out something we just don't hear anymore. In this era, female jazz vocalists tend toward a particular type of repertoire: generally the American songbook, usually one or two pieces from the Brazilian samba library, and maybe, just maybe, a piece from Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Davis presents something else. She has a couple of the songbook pieces in her set (and indeed, even a Jobim piece and a couple of Duke numbers), but there's a fair amount of other material here: some Bird, some Oscar Brown, some Clifford Brown even, as well as a lone original. The repertoire itself is enough to make the album worth picking up you're not going to hear a lot of soul jazz presented in a light vocal format even Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross stopped with bop. Sweet sound to it, and might be one of the more adventurous ones in recent times.
Bruce E Von Stiers, BVS Reviews
Jenny Davis has a voice that lets you fall in love with it instantly. Her vocals are sweet, yet sexy and sultry at the same time. Dindi is a Jobim tune that I have been seeing on several jazz vocalists' albums in the last couple of years. This is a light and easy tune that has a wonderful flute solo in it. Jenny is also wonderful here. The song has been done by Perry Como, Frank Sinatra and Astrud Gilberto. So Jenny is in good company here. Dat Dere is a Bobby Timmons song that has been done by performers like Cannonball Adderly and Rickie Lee Jones. Jenny does a good job here; bring her voice up and down the scale. This is a fun song taking off from a child's mispronunciation of the words, that there. The title track, It Amazes Me is extremely well done. A soft and easy song, this is one to gently move your partner around the dance floor with. Scrapple From The Apple / Honeysuckle Rose is a blended medley. Jenny puts her own unique spin on the verses of Honeysuckle Rose. Jenny starts out the album with It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing). This is a tune that induces a listener to start moving their feet, hips and bopping their head. It was an excellent choice to open the album with. Jenny gives you some great vocals on the song. And the piano, bass and other instruments provide terrific music. There is one original tune on the album. This is Answer The Call, written by Jenny. It is about moving away from sorrow to a higher plane. It is a nice song with some great piano and sax solos. As Jenny started out with a rousing song, she ends with a smooth and easy tune. This is Duke Ellington's Just Squeeze Me. Jenny Davis has been compared to performers such as June Cristy. Her voice has been described as sweet, yet sexy. Jenny has had critics raving about her clear, rich vocals and her commanding live performances. You would only have to listen to the first verse of It Don't Mean A Thing to hear for yourself what everyone has been saying about Jenny.
DeSoto, Jazz Police
Jazz vocalist, Jenny Davis, demonstrates a unique style and ability on her latest CD It Amazes Me. Vocal jazz lovers will quickly hear Daviss ability to sing in the post-bop tradition, a welcome change from the full docket of traditional jazz singers that often draw upon other styles for inspiration such as; swing, cabaret, blues, and pop instead of the rich bop and post bop eras. Daviss rich voice has teemed up with Chuck Easton (guitar, flute and alto sax) and George Radebaugh (piano and accordion) to establish symmetry of songs and styles that contain interesting arrangements, while breathing fresh air to the well known standards and be-bop masterpieces. Daviss inclusion of Joy Spring and Scrapple from the Apple will surely inspire this and future generations of singers to tap more often into the vast resource of musicality combined with technicality. Daviss ability to really control her vibrato, using it only when adding it to the note would increase the expression of the phrase, instead of habitually sticking it on any note longer than a quarter note, is a welcome change from the norm. Her ability to have good vocal quality at medium-up and up-tempos are also noteworthy. It Amazes Me features Daviss strong voice accompanied by a quartet: with Chuck Easton (guitar, flute and alto sax), George Radebaugh (piano and accordion), Ted Enderle (bass), Tim Sheffel (drums) and a talented young alto saxophonist, Willy Ingersoll. The music and singing is definitely worth listening to and exploring.
D. Oscar Groomes, O's Place Jazz Newsletter
These are pleasant tunes, songs we know and enjoy. She opens with Ellington's classic "It Don't Mean A Thing" and follows with twelve more classics like "Born To Be Blue" and "Joy Spring" both shadowed by Willy Ingersoll (as). We also liked "Dat Dere" and "Dindi", a duet with guitarist Chuck Easton who also plays alto sax on a couple of tunes. And Davis not only sings well but also does a fine job scatting. Check out her work on "Scrapple From The Apple/Honeysuckle Rose". It is a very good set.
Calfa, Le Jazz Affair (Podcast)
Link to Podcast
Lovely and Talented, Excellent Jazz Vocalist, Quality!
Eric W. Saeger, Mouvement Nouveau (Germany)
Like June Christy, jazz chanteuse Davis comes off relaxed and smoldering while reciting these standards, and her band (sax, piano, guitar and upright bass in the main) lends her second album (in follow-up to 2000s Daydream) the subtle friendliness of a coffee table book.
Michael P. Gladstone, All About Jazz
It Amazes Me consists of a dozen standards and jazz standards with one original that provide a fine opportunity for the singer and her combo to shine. Jenny Davis has chosen a well-balanced mix of the old and new. What'll I Do/The Tennessee Waltz. On this medley and the following version of Mel Torme's Born to be Blue, there are some impressive obbligatos from saxophonists Chuck Easton and Willy Ingersoll. On Clifford Brown's Joy Spring, Davis enters via vocalese and swings the uncredited lyrics with a tasty alto solo from Ingersoll and guitar work from Easton. Jobim's Dindi is given the ballad treatment; Easton switches to flute to complement the singer. Davis also goes on to explore the title tune, a Cy Coleman/Carolyn Leigh 1960s ballad, and the childhood intracacies of the Oscar Brown, Jr. classic, Dat Dere. She also surprises us with a version of Victor Young's Beautiful Love, beginning in ballad tempo and then heading into a swinging pace. All of the compositions are well handled, but I was especially drawn to the midtempo tracks, like Just Squeeze Me, where Davis finds just the right combination of shading and improvisation.
Jim Santella, All
In a relaxed, acoustic setting with jazz standards filling the room, Seattle vocalist Jenny Davis combines her comfortable demeanor with a throwback charm that recalls those who have come before. Through her lyric interpretations and wordless scat singing, we can feel the distant memories of masters like Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee and Mel Tormé. The albums title track swaggers gently under the weight of its lyric message. Here and in several other places, Davis comes close to an imitation of Lena Horne. Her performance is pleasant, the band adds a heartfelt groove, and everything fits musically. Dat Dere comes with a bright, uplifting spirit as Davis gives us the childs voice to signal its message. Her vocal range soars magnificently as shes joined by flute in an acrobatic interpretation. Uptempo burners such as Scrapple from the Apple and Honeysuckle Rose feature Davis powerful vocalese and convincing lyric delivery. Davis' original Answer the Call, where she issues a dramatic challenge with ample authority, represents another high point. Its the kind of inspiring message we all need to hear every day. New songs may be the key to her continued success. Davis already has the tools she needs. All that's left are a few new leaves to turn over when the time is right.
Allen Williams, Jazzreview
When singing from the great American song book, giving new life and energy to the melodies heard so much can also be a study in the balance of Yin and Yang. Sing it straight with no ornaments and it is boring, ornament the melody too much and it starts to sound like an exercise or a completely different melody. Vocalist Jenny Davis has found that magical blending of the two aspects, creating a harmony of the two for our listening pleasure with It Amazes Me. Davis new CD, It Amazes Me is a collection of 12 standards and one original with a couple of pairings of songs that share the same harmonic structure, What Ill Do/The Tennessee Waltz and Scrapple From the Apple/Honeysuckle Rose. Davis warm alto voice always seems to find the balance between conveying the unadorned melody and adding ornaments to the melody that is both entraining and informative of the songs original meaning. It Dont Mean A Thing (If It Aint Got That Swing) exemplifies Daviss ability to make a song mean a thing by finding the pulse of the song and swinging to it. Ted Enderles big bass sound provides the driving force for nice swinging solos by alto saxist Chuck Easton and pianist George Radebaugh. Actually, most of the songs on the CD are swinging with the exception of Dindi, which is played as an easy bossa. Thanks to Davis ability to play with the melody and the accompanying skills of the band, the listener will not fade to the Yin side and grow bored. There is a nice flow of tempos and instrumentation that keeps the Yin and Yang in balance. Daviss original, Answer the Call, exhibits a talent for lyric writing as well as singing. Dont stay too long in sorrow. Just feel it, know it, live it. Then move on. Perhaps on the next CD outing the listeners will get to hear more of Davis lyrics. Linger longer in swinging moments with Jenny Davis and let the balance in the music amaze you, It Amazes Me.
Jenny Davis is yet another talented singer who loves classic Jazz vocal standards and her new album It Amazes Me (2005) seems properly a decent album with really good singing that you will want to get if you like the material or a vocalist who does not mistake rolling for singing. The PCM 2.0 16bit/44.1kHz Stereo is a very good recording, with detail, clarity and depth a recent recording should have. Kelly Campbell engineered the album, while Davis herself produced. This was so good that I was curious as to how an SACD version (2.0 & 5.1) might sound. Maybe shell get the chance for such a release later.
J Sin, Smother Magazine
Jenny Davis begins her album with some doo-wop and skat jazz vocals. And she just coasts along with stellar vocal jazz hits the whole rest of the way. Blessed with a dynamic and well-ranged vocal, Davis grabs ahold of the listener with magnificent arrangements and talented interpretations of jazz standards. Thick upright bass adds some groove while the percussion gives you a sense that if you're not dancing, you're just missing out. If you happen to catch her live you're going to be one lucky soul if her talented crew and voice are even half as good live as they are on this jazz masterpiece.
John Gilbert, Ejazz News
Bending the notes interspersed with some scatting is the hallmark of "It Don't Mean A Thing" This is a fine interpretation of a classic with new nuances. "Scrapple From The Apple"...Now to get to the meat of the tunes. Davis starts the tune scatting to Bird's changes and jumps into the original "Honeysuckle Rose" like she means it. Chuck Easton on guitar puts his exclamation mark on it and the bass solo of Ted Enderle adds his musical missive in a grand manner.Tim Sheffel knows how the brushes can be utilized in a most discretionary manner and yet make a statement that pleases the ear on "Just Squeeze Me" ... Jenny Davis takes the notes around corners into crevices not yet explored as she wends her way through a tune that deserves the new life she has given it. This is a fine example of how jazz standards can be reborn in a way that
would please the composers to the fullest.
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