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Jennifer Porter - Easy Living (2014)

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Jennifer Porter - Easy Living (2014)

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1. Easy Living 
2. The Very Thought of You 
3. Nice Work If You Can Get It 
4. Crazy He Calls Me 
5. But Not for Me 
6. The Best Things in Life Are Free 
7. Gone With the Wind 
8. Yesterdays 
9. I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm 
10. I Cover the Waterfront 
11. Travelin' Light 
12. You'd Be so Nice to Come Home To
13. Where or When 

Jennifer Porter - vocals
Joe "Sonny" Barbato – piano
Jim Lyden – bass
Les Harris, Jr. – drums
Vinny Raniolo – guitar
Matt Langley – Saxophone
Jason Anick – violin

 

Blessed with a beautiful voice, an infectious musical spirit, and the ability to immediately find the center of each note, Jennifer Porter always uplifts the classic material that she sings. On Easy Living, she performs with a notable group of excellent jazz musicians, affectionately interpreting classic songs, making them sound both timeless and new.

The program begins with a wonderful treatment of “Easy Living,” with Jason Anick’s violin adding to the dreamy atmosphere. Jennifer does justice to the familiar melody of “The Very Thought of You,” bringing her brand of quiet passion to the piece. “Nice Work If You Can Get It” gives the band a chance to swing hard with Jennifer sounding relaxed, floating above the ensemble.

“Crazy He Calls Me” is an important song in Jennifer Porter’s life. Hearing Billie Holiday’s recording inspired her to switch her focus from opera to jazz. Rather than copy Lady Day, her heartfelt rendition is in her own sweet-toned voice. On this song and the following “But Not For Me,” Matt Langley’s warm tenor echoes the singer’s romantic mood.

During a medium-tempo “The Best Things In Life Are Free,” Jennifer swings simply, does not waste a note, and every sound she creates is lovely. A slightly faster-than-usual version of “Gone With The Wind,” “Yesterdays” (which has Jennifer reshaping the melody a bit) and a swinging “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm” precede a tender version of “I Cover The Waterfront.” On the latter two songs, Sonny Barbato’s piano recalls 1950s Oscar Peterson a bit in its fluency, effortless swing and taste.

Jennifer successfully revives the relatively obscure “Travelin’ Light,” one of the warmest performances of the CD. “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To” contains a surprise, an effective chorus of scat-singing that works very well on the up-tempo version. The memorable program concludes with “Where Or When” which is taken at first as a duo by Jennifer and pianist Barbato before Anick’s warm violin joins in.

Jennifer excels in various art forms. With Dana Packard, she co-founded The Originals Theatre Company in 1988, and Honey Tree Films in 1998. She starred in and composed the film score for the short film, THE BALLAD OF IDA AND DOOB, and wrote, starred in, and composed the scores for the feature films, MR. BARRINGTON and 40 WEST. Among the 17 international film awards 40 WEST received, Jennifer won six, including Best Original Score and Best Original Song. In 1988, Jennifer was the first vocalist in Maine inducted into the prestigious music honor society, Pi Kappa Lambda. Her previous recordings include Hyacinth Boy Blue (1998), the soundtrack for 40 WEST (2011) and The Way You Look Tonight (2012).

No matter what she sings, Jennifer Porter brings an intimate gentle swing and a joyful spirit to the music that she loves. ---Scott Yanow, cdbaby.com

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