Friday, January 15, 2010

That Old Mercer Magic!

The year of celebrations for Johnny Mercer’s centennial may be over, but luckily the joy continues with JaLaLa’s release of the new CD, That Old Mercer Magic!, with its bold and sassy interpretations of Mercer classics.

Backed by a dynamic group of musicians, Lauren Kinhan, Laurel Massé and Janis Siegel (together forming JaLaLa) infuse the songs with swing and jazz renditions, styles Massé and Siegel perfected in their decades with Manhattan Transfer and Kinhan through New York Voices.

Listening to their harmonies of great songs like “Ac-cent-u-ate the Positive” and “Dream” makes me think this must have been what it was like to listen to the Hit Parade in the 1940s. I also love the playful scat of “Jeepers Creepers.” And each singer gets to shine in solos -- Massé is reflective and moving in of one of my all-time favorite songs, “Moon River.”

Most of the 12 selections were familiar to me, but some were nice new discoveries. The complete listing includes: “Spring Spring Spring,” “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby,” “My Shining Hour,” “I’m Old Fashioned,” “Ridin’ on the Moon,” “Moon Country, “Have You Got Any Castles, Baby,” “Too Marvelous for Words” and “The Dance of Life.”

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