Lyn Stanley prepares to glow on “Moonlight Sessions–Volume One”

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Vocalist Lyn Stanley lends her smoky vocals to a new release just in time for summer. “The Moonlight Sessions–Volume One” is a mix of classic and original songs that highlight the singer’s voice.

An introduction to Lyn Stanley

Stanley hails from Southern California–not an area typically associated with the kind of husky, romanticized vocal jazz she creates. Her approach to the classics and to her own work is like that of a veteran, which is ironic because Stanley’s first album was released in 2013.

So, a few years into her jazz career, Stanley has a two-part recording project planned for summer 2017. Part two will be available later this summer.

 

“All or Nothing at All”

The Latin-sounding instrumentation works surprising well with Stanley’s rich voice. Listeners familiar with the history of jazz could imagine a larger ensemble playing behind Stanley. Trumpet and guitar solos break up the song nicely. Then, when all the instruments and Stanley come back in, the vocalist is even stronger. This is one of the best songs on the recording.

Why Don’t You Do Right?

In this interesting period piece of a song, the female narrator chides a suitor for not having enough money. The lyrics reference 1922; the song is opened and punctuated almost throughout by snapping fingers. The snapping is a nice touch on this sparse, mellow, bass, guitar and drum-driven vehicle. The upright bass adds to the bluesy elements found in this song. As mellow and sultry as this song is, listeners might expect to hear Peggy Lee appear as the “Fever” singer’s vocal stylings are evoked often here by Stanley. The song ends with Stanley holding a clear note in a strong part of her range.

Crazy

The song Willie Nelson wrote for Patsy Cline gets a jazzy covering in the hands of Stanley and her ensemble. The song is horn-rich, and there are great swells of music that adds tension and depth to this version. I expected Stanley’s voice to expand to match the band’s increased volume. It didn’t happen. And while it would have been nice if  there had been a little vocal swell, Stanley is not overshadowed by the by instrumentation. Perhaps that is due to the recording technique used.

This CD showcases Stanley’s voice fairly well. Some of the songs work better than others. While lower female voices are expected in jazz, singers who use their lower registers should be careful to let their voices out of their throats.  A low pitch sitting in the back of the throat fizzles out and does not sound sultry. This happens a few times on the recording. This does not make the individual songs bad. It is however, noticeable. Stanley is new to jazz, but her treatment of classics is laudable. Audiences should give this CD a listen, and await part two later this summer.

 

 

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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