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I Got It Bad & That Ain’t Good by Lisa Hearns

Swing-jazz vocalist Lisa Hearns demonstrates the pleasing warm acoustics of Sheila Cooper and the dreamy-pop glaze of Dena DeRose on her debut album, I Got It Bad & That Ain’t Good. Produced by 6-time Grammy Award winner Elliot Scheiner, the album takes Hearns around the park of American jazz classics strolling through the sparse bluesy foliage of Arthur Hamilton’s "Cry Me A River," and buzzing like a giddy kid on a sugar rush across the swing-jazz panoplies of Irving Berlin‘s standard "Cheek To Cheek." The treatments put on these tracks make them personalized to Hearn’s settings, delivering sleekly pressed keys beautifully stretched out along Marvin Gaye’s hit song "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," and the Caribbean-tinged percussive strokes buttering the flow of Nat King Cole’s "Wild Is Love." The recording envisions standards in a different light from the way that they have been presented to the public by such jazz greats as Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Julie London. Hearns sings with a girl-next-store innocence mixed with a songbird’s charm and an English dowager’s sophistication.

At times, the vintage intonations of Hearns’ vocal folds sound like she is channeling Debbie Reynolds like in the flirty sway and the upbeat versing of "On The Street Where You Live," or Peggy Lee in the softly winged holds that her voice has on the title track. Hearns displays keen instincts for tweaking the lyrics so they become more bendable in her grasp as she turns the verses in ways that only a seasoned vocalist would think to do. The treatments that she applies to the vocal melodies make the tunes sound unique and sparkle with a gracefulness that will please swing-jazz enthusiasts. Her band on the recording include Howard Alden on guitar, Kelly Friesen on bass, Keith Ingham on piano, and Arnold Wise on drums who blanket her vocals in downy cushions and fluent nuances that frame her voice in delicately coutured jazz. The sassy shimmies of "Easy Living" have a sugary glint, while the bluesy elegance of "Lonely Woman" has a pensive eloquence. Hearns wraps herself around these songs as much as she wraps them around her finger, making the two become inseparable.

Hearns’ treatments on these songs give them an invigorating push in the direction of disengaging them from what people remember about them, while keeping the songs sounding familiar in peoples ears. Standards that have been cast in stone are liberated of their mold and fashioned with new trimmings. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music and the offspring of parents who were both music professors, Lisa Hearns seems to have her own take on jazz standards without diminishing their alluring touch. Singing standards often puts an image in audiences minds that they are entering a time machine, and returning to an era when swing-jazz was more popular than American Idol contestants, but Hearns does not so much as go back in time as she brings standards out of the past and re-awakens their hearth.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Lisa Hearns
  • CD Title: I Got It Bad & That Ain’t Good
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: Quicksilver Records
  • Tracks: I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good, Easy Living, I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Cheek To Cheek, Plus Je T’embrasse, Love For Sale, Lonely Woman, Wild Is Love, On The Street Where You Live, Cry Me A River
  • Musicians: Vocals - Lisa Hearns, guitar - Howard Alden, upright bass and arranger - Kelly Friesen, piano - Keith Ingham, drums - Arnold Wise
  • Rating: Three Stars
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