Eighteen tracks is a lot of music to absorb and sit through, especially if the CD is not the greatest. But with Terry Blaine's recording of 'Lonesome Swallow', her 18 tracks left me wanting to hear more. Together with pianist Mark Shane doing the honors of accompaniment, the two of them strike a pose with classic jazz vocals of the best kind. With five CD's to date, Terry likes to revel in the traditions of Ethel Waters, Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith and other legendary female vocalists of that generation. In addition, Terry's affectionate embrace of the classics is quite evident in her approach and singing style.
Terry makes her connection with the ease of a seasoned veteran. Having virtually sung all of her life, she has immersed herself in the music of the 1930s, which has allowed her to captivate an entirely new generation of jazz aficionados. Hooking up with Mark Shane has allowed her to forge a balance between the old and the new. With sensitivity and conviction, the two of them have established themselves as the finest dynamic duo in jazz today. The chemistry they possess is tantamount to perfection, and their partnering only gets better with time. 'Lonesome Dove' is that fifth level of excellence they have become known for.
This latest recording is influenced by the works of Ethel Waters and pianist James P. Johnson. The coming together of those two artists is considered by many to be a vintage collaborative effort, some of which is one of a kind. On Lonesome Dove, Terry and Mark attempt to recapture the magic of Waters and Johnson. Their sense of timing is majestic, and their devotion to original intent is symbolic. Most of the tracks cover songs made famous by the likes Tommy Dorsey, Fats Waller, George Gershwin and numerous others. Blaine and Shane work their magic in a manner seldom heard in these times of smooth jazz hype and hysteria. With the skills of the journeymen who preceded them, Terry and Mark have embarked upon a crusade that circumvents the obstacles of mediocrity. In doing so, the music of the swing era is alive and well and is true to tradition.