Wednesday, May 1, 2013

In review--Garden of Jazz Delight

Deborah Latz 
Fig Tree
June Moon Productions

Ever so often a new voice crosses my path, a musician so authentic, that I pause and take notice.  Deborah Latz comes to jazz by way of musical theater, but she’s no cabaret act, neither is she a smooth jazz crooner.  Latz’ zingy interpretations of jazz chestnuts as well as, her original tunes get under the skin.  Her arrangements surprise us, such as the slowed down Embraceable You which features only vocals and bass or Blue Skies with its light 70s funk.  Latz travels into foreign territory, Brazil with her original E Luxo Só and on the cover Corcovado (Quiet Nights, Quiet Stars made famous by Astrud Gilberto).  The titular track, Fig Tree also contributes a fun and zestful performance to the CD.

It’s hard to come up with any new adjectives not already used by music critics to describe Latz’s voice or style.  So I just decided to enjoy what’s on offer, 14 carefully chosen tunes with a good balance of covers and originals.  You would think by now, I would be tired of hearing Moon River or Embraceable You, two songs covered by contemporary jazz artists, but not if the tunes receive a makeover as they do here.  Latz also sings in a variety of styles here from swinging jazz to blue notes on You’d Be So Nice Come Home To, which on this recording recalls Madeleine Peyroux and Billy Holiday, rather than its author Cole Porter.

I could go with 14 tracks, but I would rather you pick up this recording for yourself and indulge yourself with this fresh jazz voice.  As far as I know, jazz centers on improvisation and interpretation while delving into a palette of vibrant emotions.  And if that’s the case, Ms Latz is spot on.