Swing jazz vocalist Mark Lambert fuses his love of Brazilian, Arabian and Indian music with the gentle fluidity of classic jazz in his new record, Under My Skin from Challenger Records. With special guest Vinicius Barros on percussion, and accompanied by the Avenue C Orchestra along with Vana Gierig on piano, Matthew Parrish on acoustic bass, and Alvester Garnett on drums who form The Vana Trio, Lambert makes music that will cause your body parts to tingle in places that feel like they are experiencing a Swedish massage. He avails himself to styles that have rarely been rendered in classic jazz circles, and demonstrates how the music of different cultures can be assimilated into the tunes of the Great American Songbook; thus making for one large, happy family whose incongruent pieces become harmonious when brought together.
Lambert drapes Cole Porter’s classic piece "I Love Paris" in shingles of Arabian mists and loops of Spanish-rimmed guitar strings played poetically by Lambert. His voice resonates with the soothing feel of Michael Feinstein, and the billowy amplification of church bells resonate like floral chimes ringing over mountain tops. He makes the listening experience a delightful way to spend a day, surrounded in candlelight shimmers and radiate pathways. His rendition of Bob Hilliard and David Mann’s timeless tune "In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning" has smooth orchestral tendrils that move audiences towards experiencing total tranquility, and his interpretation of Walter Lloyd Gross and Jack Lawrence’s track "Tenderly" has a pacifying feel. The dreamy textures of Lambert’s vocals in George and Ira Gershwin’s song "But Not For Me" gels harmoniously with the creamy wavelets made by the orchestra. The wispy piano ringlets of Vana Gierig provide the lubricating cabernet for Lambert’s richly flavored fillet mignon of juicy guitar cuts. The elegant swagger of Lambert’s vocals is seductive, and the mellifluous pitch of his register seems tailored for the tunes of the Great American Songbook. It is like he was made specifically to play jazz standards.
Under My Skin is both entertaining and enlightening as it illuminates on different facets of various cultures, and has them converge through music. Produced by Vana Gierig, Under My Skin merges classic jazz with world music ideals, and demonstrates that harmony is possible through the process of convergence.