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A Fine Spring Morning by Jody Sandhaus

The title of Jody Sandhaus’ third CD, A Fine Spring Morning, provides a hint of the music within: sunny, appealing songs with glass-half-full optimism. And the song itself, associated for decades with Blossom Dearie but now infrequently heard, provides an appropriate vehicle for Sandhaus to observe such things as whether spring is getting springier or kids are getting cozier or neighbors are getting nosier or bulls are getting bulldozier. How could it be otherwise? True to her temperament and the sincerity inherent in her engaging soprano, Sandhaus has assembled a song list that reflects her sanguine disposition. No gloom or doubt or melancholy darkens Sandhaus’ door, as it does for angst-driven singers who sing about sad young men or things that happen ‘round midnight. In addition to the consistency of her major-key themes, Sandhaus has intentionally sought lesser-known songs by well-known composers to create a freshness of content, as well as a freshness of spirit.

For example, "I Like the Sunrise," the first movement of The Liberian Suite initially performed movingly and unforgettably by Al Hibbler, is one of Duke Ellington’s less frequently recorded compositions. However, it’s consistent with Sandhaus’s intentions of seeking out often-forgotten songs of uplifting content: "I like the sunrise/’Cause it brings a new day./I like a new day./It brings new hope, they say./I like the sunrise/Blazing in the new start./Night time is weary/But so am I./Every evening I wish upon a star/That my brand new bright tomorrow isn’t very far."

Even "Whatever Lola Wants," an alluring tango of over-the-top sultriness and irresistible demands from Damn Yankees, comes across as if it’s all in fun due to Sandhaus’s light-hearted, tentative treatment. "Take off your coat./Don't you know you can't win?/You're no exception to the rule./I'm irresistible, you fool./Give in! Give in! Give in!" can be taken two ways. And Sandhaus chooses to take it wryly, singing the lyrics with a straight face even as she understates them.

Likewise, Matt Dennis’ song of relatively uncomplicated sentiment and structure, "Relax," allows Sandhaus to breeze through the first chorus without breaking a sweat as she fills "every moment with happiness" and "wears a smile and finds that life’s worthwhile." But it becomes evident that the reason for its inclusion on A Fine Spring Morning, besides its Pollyannaish content, is the opportunity to allow her fine rhythm section to solo, her husband Pete Malinverni lightly framing the melody with block chords and bassist Todd Coolman shaping his own melodies from the mood of Sandhaus’s delivery. And appropriately enough, Sandhaus "Can’t Help Singing." That’s because she "sings because I’m happy," as she states in the waltz’s verse.

In possession of an enchanting voice with exacting articulation and swelling dynamics, Jody Sandhaus, without artifice or excessive elaboration, affects her listeners, not with the words of the lyrics or the notes of the melodies, but with the direct emotional appeal of a singer who has found fulfillment and who wishes to share it.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Jody Sandhaus
  • CD Title: A Fine Spring Morning
  • Genre: Jazz Vocals
  • Year Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Consolidated Artists Productions
  • Tracks: A Fine Spring Morning, Deed I Do, Picnic, All or Nothing At All, There’ll Be Another Spring, Whatever Lola Wants, Get Out of Town, I Like the Sunrise, Relax, Don’t Ever Leave Me, Can’t Help Singing, Love Look Away.
  • Musicians: Jody Sandhaus (vocals), Pete Malinverni (piano), Todd Coolman (bass), Leroy Williams (drums)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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