Saturday, March 12, 2011

Michelle LeBlanc's New CD Brings Sultry Jazz Interpretations to Classic Love Songs

Much to my delight, Michelle LeBlanc has just released her long-awaited new CD, I Remember You, 11 standard love songs given new life through her characteristic sultry and evocative jazz interpretations. With her rich voice and dynamic band, LeBlanc’s recording calls to mind the intimate world of sophisticated nightspots. It’s sexy and it’s joyful, and a welcome follow-up to her first CD, Now or Never.

Many of the selections were familiar to me, starting with with Cole Porter’s “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To.” Others were new, such as “But Beautiful,” Johnny Burke and Johnny Van Heusen’s 1947 song sung with a dreamy romanticism: Love is funny or it's sad,/ Or it's quiet or it's mad;/ It's a good thing or it's bad, /But beautiful! /Beautiful to take a chance /And if you fall, you fall; /And I'm thinking I wouldn't mind at all.

I also like the wistful “I Fall in Love Too Easily,” the soulfulness of “The Masquerade Is Over” and “Never Will I Marry,” the sense of longing in “That Old Feeling” and the title track, which is nostalgic but with an upbeat tempo.

LeBlanc’s working band is featured on “I Remember You,” and includes Tom Kohl, piano and arrangements; Bill Crow, bass; Joe Stelluti, sax, flute and clarinet; David Jones, drums; and special guest John Arrucci, hand percussion. The arrangements for “Preacher Boy” and “That Old Feeling’” were created by jazz composer and arranger Michael Abene. 

LeBlanc has been a popular personality in jazz clubs, on concert stages and for private events for more than two decades, and is especially well-known in New York’s Hudson Valley.  In New York City, she has performed at The Rainbow Room with The Cab Calloway Orchestra, at The Friars Club, at Town Hall for the Mabel Mercer Cabaret Foundation Showcase and at Riverside Chapel.

She has been performing the songs of “I Remember You” in concerts in upstate New York. I hope it won’t be too long before she brings one down to NYC.

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