Monday, January 5, 2015

Cynthia Felton, Sings the Nancy Wilson Classics, Save Your Love for Me

There are singers in the jazz realm who create artistry with whatever they have. Then there are those who simply have it all--the vocal instrument in all of its beauty and finesse--and start from a place in some ways already there. The second kind of singer is Cynthia Felton. She has come out with a number of albums that show us how good she is. And now the same with the latest. In the new volume she sings songs made classic by Nancy Wilson, but puts her own instrument into it. That album is Save Your Love for Me (Felton Entertainment 0004).

I suppose it is fitting that this album was recorded in Capitol Studies, where if I am not mistaken Nancy did much of her tracking. The instrumentation is from small to middle-sized, with the emphasis on a jazz orientation. There are too many to name here, but they all do exactly what they need to do to set off Ms. Felton's fine voice.

The repertoire is both American Songbook gems and some others less typical but worthwhile. So "I Wish You Love" is on the agenda, but also Wes Montgomery's waltz-time "West Coast Blues," with lyrics by Sascha Burlan. Nancy did this one in 1963 but Cynthia nails it, too. Ms. Felton has the feel for the blues as much as she can do a sophisticated ballad. Like Nancy. But like Cynthia, really.

Cynthia has soul, a projection of her considerable vocal ravish with phrasings that are never less than impeccable. She adds and subtracts notes here and there with the sureness of the major jazz vocalist she is. And it always works.

I am hardly going out on a limb to say that she is an indispensable member of the vocal elite today. This album is yet another feather in her considerable cap. It's a great one to start with if you don't already know the voice. And it is a wonderful confirmation of her talent, something that hangs just right in its instrumental frame. Get this and you'll hear it!

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