When Take Me Home arrived on my desk several weeks ago, I saw the recording included four of my favorite tunes "Old Devil Moon," "Cheek to Cheek," "What is this Thing Called Love" and "You’d be So Nice to Come Home To." I immediately tore into the CD case.
On the way from my desk to the CD player and while my ears eagerly awaited these and the other six tunes that Ms. Simmons had prepared, a shocking wave of panic went through my mind. I stopped in my tracks.
A voice in my head yelled, "Wait! What if these songs are recorded by an aspiring jazz singer as a right of passage?" Sometimes we hear the traditional "compulsory" standards, much like the technical requirements of Ice Skating in the Winter Olympic Games. Well done, but never part of prime-time television coverage? I could not bare the potential let down.
Scared to move, terrified of potential disappointment, I sat the CD aside until the panic dissipated. When I drummed up the courage to take the chance and risk it. WOW!!! I re-learned an old lesson: "He who hesitates is lost." Ms. Simmons presents a fresh original approach to these wonderful tunes. Even more enjoyable are her creative arrangements that add spunk and bring new life to the each composition. She takes the music in new and wonderful directions. I love seeing an artist step out on the edge and risk rearranging standards. Rearranged, but very well placed.
All the playing is very strong and the supporting musicians are well-schooled and prepared. Ms. Simmons voice is right on and clean, and her ballads are done with powerful emotion. Her playful rhythms keep you on your toes, especially with the time changes in "Old Devil Moon" and quick step feel in "Cheek to Cheek." Ms. Simmons you have created a fine example of taking great songs and doing them extremely well.
I would change only one thing, I would call the CD "Take Me Home and Listen to Me Right Now!" Kaz Simmons’ Take Me Home is a welcome addition to my collection of great music.