This CD is so thoroughly drenched in trad jazz vocal values that you have to look around while listening to it, assuring yourself you're not sitting amid Victrola player, fleur de lise wallpaper, and Futuro-Vision Zenith television (with revolutionary 13" screen!!!) running Ed Sullivan, Milton Berle, and live coverage of some fat Russian guy banging his shoe at the U.N. plenary meeting. Right from the start, Elaine Lucia demonstrates perfect tone atop a quintet laid back to allow her plenty of room while gussying up the atmosphere. In fact, in the slightly more muscular songs, such as Blue Prelude and In the Night, it's rather astonishing just how firmly she has those vocal chords under control, well nigh unto an opera singer's discipline. Hey, Kiri Te Kanawa once crossed over from the other side to quite nice results, so the two are very comparable indeed, no?
Smoky torch songs often infused with greater or lesser degrees of mannered bop tend to define the lion's share of cuts here, the latter never trending to a hard edge, instead providing the sort of arresting exercises distinguishing the true pros from flat recitalists. Guitarist Randy Vincent jumps in every so often for oft surprising whiskeyed leads, as in I'd Love to Make Love to You, a song doubly surprising for Lucia's matter-of-factly naughty girl-next-door reading etched in innocence and young knowledge. It's follower, the classic Daddy, is more sex kitteny, slinkily gold-digger while promising rewards for walking into the velvet trap, a bit of Eartha Kitt slipping in.
Elaine Lucia's following a long tradition, one populated by June Christie, Peggy Lee, and Kimiko Itoh, but, to be honest, not very many others. Many start to belt it out (Bette Midler), demonstrate pyrotechnics (Linda Rondstadt), or bop their brains out (take your pick of several), but few remain this solidly in such a sweetly seductive bandwidth. Lucia's respected for her talents and even sang Don't Go to Nat King Cole while she was recording it, a song not easy to master. As said, there are standards here, a bunch of well-chosen others, and even a song written by the singer herself, Sayulita, a breezy samba set with stars from Gerry Grosz's vibes and as solid as the rest of the dozen tracks. If you're a connoissieur of the human voice, mellow jazz, well considered torch-romantic songs, or all three, this is your disc. Have a glass of wine ready.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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