Producer/trumpeter Jeremy Pelt made the extremely wise decision to make Songs of Blue a completely instrumental CD. That's not what it is, but that's what it is. The tip-off is in the long very moody trumpet intro to the first cut, Under a Blanket of Blue, so that when vocalist Michelle Zangara finally enters, you understand she's at one with the band, not just singing but playing her voice, making art with it. Where this becomes crystallinely apparent, though, is in the misty rendering of Stardust, Zangara this time the long languorous roll-out upon which sax (Ned Goold) and piano (Bruce Barth) riff and inflect, Goold especially impressive, taking the pitch over the top from Zangara's throaty register.
And, yeah, this is waaay blue, a far cry from the days when Zangara was ensconced in the multi-layered Pe-De-Boi power samba band Rod Stewart was nuts about and which opened for him in front of 30,000 fans at Byrne Arena. After that, she took up acting and various other pursuits, including a signing to Polydor and a stint with Nile Rodgers, then settled on a jazz trio, and that led to this. The Gentleman is a Dope cut shows, though, how the ensemble tackles be-boppy numbers and is my favorite, containing hints and essences of Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Lester Young, but by far the dominant tone is laconic, melancholy, reflective, rueful, and bittersweet…with the snappier He's my Guy and I'm Hip as positivist offsets. Songs of Blue is music from a lost time revivified, an era when Marlene Deitrich held sway and Marianne Faithful would one day hold the interim.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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