Review: I LOVE BEING HERE WITH YOU
Known as one of the best stride and swing pianists around, Judy Carmichael is near-equally renowned for her lively, intelligent radio show Jazz Inspired. (Full disclosure: Transcriptions of conversations from that show are available at JazzTimes.com) Carmichael's vocal skills remain a tertiary source of admiration, primarily because they are, at least in terms of her recordings, a relatively new addition. It wasn't until 2008, in the wake of 10 instrumental albums, that she added vocals to half the tracks on Come and Get It. At the time, Carmichael admitted a desire to unleash her "inner Peggy Lee." Now, with the arrival of not only her first all-vocals album but also the first on which she never touches a keyboard, that wish is fully realized.
Carmichael exhibits a truly remarkable ability to channel Lee's breathy invitingness and her befogged insouciance. But this collection of 11 standards also echoes the intense perspicacity of the solo albums Annie Ross released prior to, during and immediately after her affiliation with Lambert and Hendricks. In other words, she winningly blends two of the all-time finest, most intuitive jazz singers.
Like Lee and Ross, Carmichael shows tremendous respect for her fellow musicians—tenor saxophonist Harry Allen, pianist Mike Renzi and bassist Jay Leonhart—allowing each ample space to leisurely stretch out.