Sunday, May 9, 2010

Stephanie Nakasian

I just stumbled across a new album by the vocalist Stephanie Nakasian, called Billie Remembered: The Classic Songs Of Billie Holiday. Ms. Nakasian sings this material in a style that is readily identifiable with, and pays tribute to, Billie Holiday, but she does so without dropping into caricature or mere imitation.

But what really caught my attention about this album was the backing combo,which includes Randy Sandke on trumpet, Marty Gross on guitar, and Ms. Nakasian's husband Hod O'Brien on piano. I'm a big Randy Sandke fan--he can really do no wrong in my book. And Marty Gross's solid rhythm guitar work is nice and prominent in the mix. It gives the tunes a nice steady chunk-chunk-chunk-chunk that makes for easy dancing, especially for newer dancers that are still working on keeping on beat. Overall, the combo has a loose, jam-session feel that is pretty unusual to hear on jazz albums these days.

One last note for DJs: the album includes a good range of tempos, from 85 to 250 bpm, but over half the album is at comfortable lindy-hop pace. I could see myself relying on several of the tracks as go-to floor-fillers when I'm DJing.

No comments:

Post a Comment