The first-ever JazzVox CD “In Your Own Backyard” has been such a labor of love for Nich Anderson, host of the acclaimed JazzVox Concert Series, and its pure eloquence and charm will win over the hearts of many! Nich’s intention was to showcase new studio recordings by many of the recent JazzVox artists, and he accomplishes this so perfectly with an innate sense of real beauty and an intimate understanding of each artist.
The order of songs is carefully arranged by alternating slower pieces with up tempo ones, and the crystal clear segues set just the right mood for every song. This CD begins with a glowing rendition of “Moon River” by the wonderful LA-based songstress Kathleen Grace, so sensitively accompanied by pianist extraordinaire Darin Clendenin. The second song “Comes Love” is performed with much style and soul by LA-based singer/bassist phenom Kristin Korb, along with the esteemed Randy Halberstadt on piano. Next up is a fun, upbeat number “Please Don’t Bug Me” by the incomparable LA-based vocalist John Proulx whose mellow, understated delivery is buoyed with his swinging style on the keyboards. Superb bassist Chuck Kistler amply supplies the “groove” to this song. Segue to a smoky blues classic “Blue Monk” sung to perfection by local great Kelley Johnson accompanied with supreme artistry by East Coast guitarist Keith Ganz.
Song #5 is the ever-popular “I’m Old Fashioned” featuring the brilliant NY-based vocalist Jo Lawry whose endearing and colorful interplay with outstanding local pianist Bill Anschell is one of the CD’s highlights. Song #6 is the enchanting “theme” song of this recording “Back in your own backyard” performed with lilting grace by NY-based singer/guitarist Hanna Richardson who is accompanied by the uniquely wonderful East Coast pianist Patti Wicks. Song #7 is a gorgeous ballad “All My Tomorrows” exquisitely sung by renowned vocalist/educator Stephanie Nakasian (residing in Charlottesville, VA) and accompanied by Bill Anschell on piano with amazing subtlety of emotion. “The Cat” is a sly, catchy tune arranged and performed by famed LA-based vocalist Cathy Segal-Garcia and is accentuated perfectly by the gifted Portland-based guitarist John Stowell.
The second round of songs starts with another Kristin Korb/Randy Halberstadt collaboration “You’re getting to be a habit with me”, and Kristin is at her sultry best alongside Randy’s impassioned piano playing. Song #10 is the great Fats Waller tune “Honeysuckle Rose” with Jo Lawry’s delightful sugary sweet delivery of every note. It really is a joy to again see her at “play” with Bill Anschell who actually tickles those ivories in a stride fashion like “Fats” himself. “Welcome to my world” is one of John Proulx’s most poignant and touching compositions revealing undying love for his newly born daughter. It is pristinely augmented by bassist Chuck Kistler once again. Song #12 is the famed Lerner & Lowe tune “If ever I would leave you” performed with great affection by Kathleen Grace and accompanied so serenely and delicately by Darin Clendenin on piano. Song #13 is a timeless Jobim ballad “Triste” featuring Kelley Johnson’s evocative and beautiful phrasing together with Keith Ganz’s stunning arrangements on guitar.
“Perdido” is a rousing number with Stephanie Nakasian’s exuberantly playful interpretation, even including one of her “brass implants” (Instrumental impersonation of a trombone). Bill Anschell was clearly in a “fun” zone right along with her, playing piano with great aplomb. “Time after time” is one of Nich Anderson’s favorite standards and he does it great justice with his passionate yet mellow rendition. Nich’s honeyed timbre is reflected beautifully by the highly personalized piano style of Patti Wicks. Song #16 is “These Foolish Things”, a much beloved ballad that is performed with heartfelt simplicity and great depth by Hanna Richardson with the fabulous Patti Wicks once again. The grand finale is Gershwin’s classic “But not for me” done as a lovingly affectionate “romp” by Jo Lawry along with Bill Anschell and featuring David Lange (of Pearl Django) on accordion. It is truly a “celebration”, capturing the spirit of all the hard work and love put into this project, and is a fitting explanation point to this glorious CD.
“In Your Own Backyard” is scheduled to be released by OA2 Records on January 18 when it will be available online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Best Buy. It will of course be featured on the OA2 Records web site (oa2records.com) and is now available on Nich Anderson’s JazzVox web site (jazzvox.com). You will want to keep this brilliant debut CD in your “forever” collection and pass it on ad infinitum to your family and friends –it’s that special!!