Le Coq Records
Andy James goes Latin for her latest, all covers, a range of jazz standards and even an old baby-boomer rock-world staple or two, with an instrumental rendition of Santana’s Evil Ways to showcase the band as the record closes out.
James is a great singer – she offers warmth in every song, breathing through the tunes to communicate her version of each song’s story but always honouring the composer’s intentions, never twisting them or turning them to a breaking point.
She’s also working with the best of the best – drummers Marvin “Smitty” Smith and Vinnie Colaiuta, percussionist Alex Acuña, bassist John Patitucci prop up the rhythm section; there are guitars and horns, the piano of John Beasley and a few little cameo spots too, such as vibist Lolly Allen adding her magic to the slick-sliding groove of Papa Loves Mambo.
James was once a flamenco dancer herself, she knows this music, lives and breathes it, dances in and out of English and Spanish tongue and arranger Bill Cunliffe has provided brilliant arrangements here for the world class musicians. You might have heard this sort of thing before – many times, even – but when you hear Andy James move into ballad-territory (Charade, Who Can I Turn To) as a gear-shift from the muscular mambo workouts (But Not For Me, Call Me) you can’t help but be impressed. This is just a solid set of tunes so well delivered with a full team of safe hands to assist.
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