Wednesday, November 7, 2012

In review--A whole lot of sugar in the bowl

Roberta Donnay
& The Prohibition Mob Band
A Little Sugar

American jazz chanteuse Roberta Donnay takes a journey through jazz history on her juicy CD, A Little Sugar.  The songs range from 1897 to present day while showing off blues, Dixieland, and swing roots.  Donnay immerses herself in the feminist sentiments of Roaring twenties and Depression Era women jazz singers, and Donnay’s softer vocals take on a gritty edge even with songs by Irving Berlin and Hoagy Carmichael. Woman empowerment, though tongue and cheek on songs such as One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show come into play.  Playful is the right word to describe this recording and if you want sexy innuendos listen to (Tropical) Heatwave or (I Want a Little) Sugar in My Bowl.  If you look for clever lyrics, you’ll find plenty here and you’ll chuckle at the witty one-liners too.  After listening to this CD, I feel like watching Hollywood classics, even Silent Era movies.

Backed by John R. Burr (piano), Sam Bevan (bass), Michael Barsimanto (drums), Rich Armstrong (horns), Sheldon Brown (reeds and flute), Wayne Wallace (trombone) and Ed Ivey (tuba on Mama’s Gone, Goodbye and You’ve Been a Good Ole Wagon), this band has a delightful time recreating the past.  From jazz ballads such as Irving Berlin’s 1932 Say it isn’t So to send-ups such as Ida Cox’s 1939 You Got to Swing and Sway, Donnay spotlights her vocal and emotional range.  The press notes mention Donnay’s research into the history of American jazz and a few of her discoveries about the rough and tumble jazz divas of former eras.  You don’t need to know any of this history, and you’ll still feel and get the sentiments on A Little Sugar.  And since these songs go down relatively easy, you won’t need any sugar.

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