Listen & Look
Lisa Maxwell started performing as a vocalist in 1980’s at Jan Wallman’s in Greenwich Village and worked the NYC cabaret scene during the 1980s and early 1990s .
During this period she also appeared at Judy’s, Don’t Tell Mama, Mr. Sam’s, Nell’s, La Cave, Tatou, and Danny’s Skylight Room. She studied voice with Guen Omeron, and Joyce Bryant. She was coached by Buddy Barnes, Rita Gardner, and Keith Ingham. She attended Herbert Berghof studios and was taught there by Rita Gardner, Carol Hall, and Richard Morse.
Lisa and her husband, jazz pianist and executive producer of Schoolhouse Rock George Newall, began collaborating on what would become her first CD, “Return to Jazz Standards” in 2003.
Lisa & George were able to finish their collaboration released in July 2010, to much critical acclaim. This inspired her to rejoin with her coach and accompanist, Keith Ingham for her second recording “Happy”, released in fall 2011.
Lisa has appeared at The Metropolitan Room, and The Empire Room in NYC since the release of her two CD's and has also been appearing locally in Westchester County and Connecticut on a regular basis. Most recently you can find her appearing at Alvin & Friends in New Rochelle, NY.
"Ms. Maxwell has a voice to die for and makes a mockery of so many of the current crop of women'pop' singers -it has a caressing velvet feel to it, downright sexy in an understated way,and you can hear every syllable she sings."
John M. Peters - The Borderland
I'll Take Romance, You Can't Lose a Broken Heart, Sunday In New York, The Folks Who Live On The Hill,
It Might As Well Be Spring, Someone To Watch Over Me, My Heart Goes With You, This Is Always,
Going Out Of My Head, Blue Moon, Under A Blanket Of Blue, June Night, Skylark, A Wonderful Guy.
Personnel: Lisa Maxwell, vocals; Keith Ingham, piano; Frank Tate, bass; Al Gafa, guitar; Steve Little, drums; Ben Wittman, percussion.
Produced by Lisa Maxwell & Keith Ingham
Arranged by Keith Ingham
Return to Jazz Standards
Produced and arranged by George Newall
Featuring John Allred on trombone
You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To, Meditataion, Lazy Afternoon, I Hadn't Anyone Till You, Love Dance, Call Me, The Shadow Of Your Smile, Isn't it A Pity, What are You Doing New Year's Eve, My Romance, Moonlight Savings Time
Personnel: Lisa Maxwell, vocals; George Newall, piano; John Allred, Trombone.
"Lisa’s gentle, floating approach creates vistas of sound and feeling.
She doesn’t strain or emote, but gets inside each song and makes it glow."
–Michael Steinman, Jazz Lives
While the world has no shortage of Independent jazz vocalists, thankfully Maxwell conveys with an unpretentious and delightfully easy-going delivery. While much of the material here is familiar standards and recognizable pop songs, Maxwell’s delightful way interpreting the true meaning of each cut allows the songs to take on a fresh perspective that neither disrespects the writer’s intention or the spirit of the song.
Opening with “I’ll Take Romance,” there is a subtly to the swing that is underpinned by Keith Ingram’s smart and intoxicating support all the while allowing Maxwell to paint her vocal interpretations. ”Someone To Watch Over Me,” is a moving tune sincerely delivered and adorned with Maxwell’s gentle ability to swing with stylishness. “Skylark” though a widely covered cut, is given a new treatment and truly shines as one of Maxwell’s more convincing tracks on this delightful offering.
Happy is truly an engaging offering with a mix of well-chosen standards and a pinch of well-placed classic adult contemporary hits, given a proper dressing of jazz. Maxwell delivers a lasting impression of blissfull Happiness and lasting Happy.
If a review were to boiled down into one word then happy would work straight across the board. Lisa Maxwell exudes a very real joy in her craft, a genuine exuberance of appreciation for a gift she is fortunate to be able to share with the rest of us. While some singers quickly find themselves worked into a narcissistic corner attempting to convince others of a level of artistic greatest that even they are unaware of, Maxwell sings with an air of unpretentiousness unique to the recording industry today. Lisa Maxwell's phrasing, articulation and appealing tone are all carried off with the apparent understanding that the song is to be center stage while Maxwell is but the earthly vessel transporting such artistic beauty. While much of the material here is familiar, Maxwell's own special interpretations allow a fresh perspective on timeless classics that neither disrespect the original or herself. Far more than knocking off a dozen passable covers, Maxwell does more than sing the words she instead makes the music which is a rare gift.
Opening with "I'll Take Romance" there is an infectious subtle swing that is intoxicating while the Keith Ingham Quartet provide the perfect musical canvas for which Maxwell to paint her vocal pictures. "Someone To Watch Over Me" is a delightful tune accentuated with Maxwell's pristine vocals and gentle sincerity of delivery. "Blue Moon" makes a nice transition to a tune with more contemporary jazz sensibilities and some well placed harmonic changes and the chance for the Keith Ingham Quartet to re harmonize the melody to a slightly more blue infused number which once again allows Maxwell to leave her own special mark on a timeless classic. "Skylark" seems to have been covered a good bit over the past couple of years but Maxwell's rendition immediately goes into the more memorable pile. Look long and hard and there are nothing but good things happening here. A "happy" critic.
Lisa Maxwell's debut, Return to Jazz Standards (Self Produced, 2010), was well-received when released, marking the New York singer's recovery and comeback from a vocal cord disorder that sidelined her for several years earlier in the decade. Maxwell returns with Happy, a recital of not-so-standard standards, supported by Maxwell's coach, pianist Keith Ingham, and his fine quartet. The result is an evolution in cohesiveness and vision.
In a word, Maxwell's Happy is breezy. Her voice has filled out in all the right places and betrays a youthful, scrubbed, girl-next-door coquettishness. "Pretty" and "unadorned" will also describe this voice. Maxwell's natural instrument is her greatest asset, and her singing philosophy bears the same pretty and unadorned characteristics as her voice. A fan of melody, Maxwell is conservative in her adherence, more often than not. to the composer's melodic intent, demonstrated most clearly in textbook readings of "Someone to Watch Over Me" and "Skylark," two amply road-tested pieces, dusted off here.
Equal in importance to the present recital is the band, under Ingham's tutelage, the pianist turning out to be a most splendid accompanist to Maxwell; his simple, yet elegant arrangements perfectly frame the pure simplicity of Maxwell's voice and approach. Even on upbeat pieces like the opener, "I'll Take Romance," and "Under A Blanket of Blue," the two work with envious simpatico. Maxwell and Ingham coalesce perfectly on the Teddy Randazzo/Bobby Weinstein chestnut "Goin' Out of My Head," Ingham's electric piano and Maxwell's straight-arrow delivery recalling Petula Clark's 1965 recording of the song, flying slower than the speed of sound. The light samba spin is a nice touch.
Maxwell is still interested in the standards, but also shows an interest in musical roads less traveled. "This is Always," "Blue Moon" and "What a Wonderful Guy" are a joy to behold in the hands and voice of this singer. A user-friendly jazz vocalist to the end, Lisa Maxwell is one to behold.
"...Lisa & Keith were made for each other..."
"...It's impossible not to hear this and develop an immediate crush on Lisa. She is spirited, youthful, charming, warm and utterly engaging–with a complete affinity for the honest sentiment of this era of song."
Accompanied by the Keith Ingham Quartet, Lisa Maxwell’s album, Happy, is truly unrestrained, blissful audio happiness. Even singing some of the most somber of jazz songs, Maxwell’s voice makes the lyrics an enjoyably uplifting experience.
If a voice could be visual, Maxwell’s would have the biggest smile. Her voice is incredibly happy, album title aside.
With classic jazz cuts like “I’ll Take Romance” written by Oscar Hammerstein II and Ben Oakland, Maxwell puts a lively twist on some of the most original jazz arrangements. Everything on the album is indeed “happy,” which makes this album such a joy to listen to. Maxwell, who started performing in the 1980s, is a great artist to listen to on any given Sunday.
Maxwell almost lost her voice in 2007 due to neurological complications, but regained it in 2009. Later in 2009, Maxwell had the amazing opportunity to collaborate on a duet with Bob Dorough, who may be most famous for the song “Devil May Care.” Maxwell’s last album, "Return to Jazz Standards" was released in 2010. Return to Jazz Standards features Maxwell’s husband, George Newall, executive producer of School House Rock. Happy, released September 6, 2011, includes Maxwell’s coach and accompanist, Keith Ingham, Al Gafa on guitar, Steve Little on drums, and Ben Wittman on percussion.
Lisa Maxwell deserves some well-needed attention.
It is impossible to listen to Lisa Maxwell sing and not be affected by the warmth in her voice, the sensual touch of her inflections or the attachment she has to the lyrics radiating in her delivery. Like actors who delve into the characterization of the roles they play, Maxwell delves into the mindset of the lyrics she sings making the songs personable and inducing an intimate setting between herself and her audience.Her latest album appropriately titled Happy is recorded with the Keith Ingham Quartet who backs her up with balmy lounge music as she travels through a selection of ballroom standards such as "I'll Take Romance" and "Skylark" which share the attention with such classic pop tunes as "Going out of My Head" and "My Heart Goes with You." Produced by Maxwell and Ingham, the ties which they use to bind the recording recall of the Golden Age of ballroom jazz performed by such graceful vocalists as Doris Day and Shirley Horn. Maxwell sings these songs with the integrity of her predecessors and the stature of someone who owns these melodies.
Dancers express themselves in the way they move. Similarly, Maxwell expresses herself in the way she sings. The imprints she makes infuse sentiment in every lyric like when she ponders, "Skylark, have you anything to say to me?" The listener feels every plea emoting from the words making Maxwell's treatment of the words an integral part of the songs. Whether she caresses the words so they linger over several bars or trots at a snappy pace, she plants a vision in the listener's mind like in "Going out of My Mind" as she describes "I think I'm going out of my head over you,,, I can't think of anything but you… I see you each morning / You just go past me / You don't even know I exist.. I must think of a way to get into your heart."The coasting stride of "You Can't Lose a Broken Heart" is countered by the brisk beats of "June Night" harnessing a box-step in the rhythmic patterns. The legato versing of "The Folks Who Live on the Hill" and "Someone to Watch over Me" project starry-imbued ambiences while the rubato quivers in the undertow of "It Might As Well Be Spring" produce a bouncy axis beneath Maxwell's vocal movements. The samba-tinged shakes of "Under a Blanket of Blue" complement Maxwell's register which resemble a Doris Day-ish bubbliness along "A Wonderful Guy."Influenced by an era when ballroom jazz ruled mainstream radio, Happy represents Maxwell's craving to be a part of this clique, more so than as an effort to pay homage to this period. Maxwell sings these songs as if they were written yesterday instead of yesteryear as she makes them relatable to the present with contemporary jazz furnishings.
Maxwell finds the ingénue voice that Eden Atwood should have found 20 years ago if she wanted to be 6 years ahead of the jazz divapack. With an innocent but skilled voice leading the way thorough a solidset of jazz oldies, Maxwell makes a solid, straight ahead jazz vocal set that avoids all the clichés of lite jazz and simply delivers a winning setfrom all involved. With smart backing from Keith Ingham, who knows a smartvocalist when he backs one, the vibe is so right that this becomesirresistible. For jazzbos that just want to enjoy themselves, this is the real deal.
When Keith Ingham says, “I have a singer I’d like you to hear,” you pay attention, because he has worked and recorded with Maxine Sullivan, Peggy Lee, Susannah McCorkle, and many more.
And then Lisa Maxwell’s voice comes out of the speakers and you bask in her exuberant confidence.
Lisa has all the virtues any singer could ask for. Her voice is appealing; her rhythm glides; her phrasing is all her own. She knows that each song is its own little playlet. Without dramatizing, she lets the song itself take center stage.
Unlike many singers who toy with or obliterate lyrics, Lisa deeply respects the words, “How I adore the brilliance of those writers, how their words form the picture! Then they’re intertwined with the notes that project the story into another dimension.” She sings with a deep intuitive awareness; the lyrics are not simply a series of syllables to get through. Her understanding of the music comes through in every bar: she isn’t tied to the notes, but she respects the composer’s intention while she rides the rhythm easily. Listen as she takes the twists and turns of "I’LL TAKE ROMANCE", how nimbly she threads through "SUNDAY IN NEW YORK".
Lisa’s gentle, floating approach creates vistas of sound and feeling. She doesn’t strain or emote, but gets inside each song and makes it glow. She sounds light-hearted, innocent, but the illusion of such artlessness can only be given us by a mature artist. Lisa has a sufficiently strong personality to simultaneously embrace the shade of Billie Holiday on "YOU CAN’T LOSE A BROKEN HEART" and to make her own way within the song.
She believes in the songs she chooses to sing, and a conversational candor animates "MY HEART GOES WITH YOU" and "THIS IS ALWAYS". Throughout this disc, Lisa’s second choruses build on her first; she’s a low-key but effective improviser.
Much of the repertoire is familiar, but she gently makes these songs new, “I've done many of them many times, some less so, one (“My Heart Goes With You”) never. I loved the idea of being totally spontaneous in these sessions, along with Keith, and gave him complete freedom to arrange in any way he wanted. I wanted to be collaborative, to share in the purest sense, to go along for the ride. I want everyone to be "Happy" and everyone involved deserved their solos, their chances to shine. I love their work.”
And the playing is delightfully cohesive: Keith’s supportive lines, with never a superfluous note; Frank’s deep woody sound and his splendid pulse; Al’s muted chimes, Steve’s padding brushwork; Ben’s just-right percussive seasonings.
Keith’s arrangements are full of irresistible pleasures: the interpolation of "MANHATTAN" in "SUNDAY IN NEW YORK"; the joyous swing of "IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SPRING" and "BLUE MOON", the start of "JUNE NIGHT" that suggests that some "JIVE AT FIVE "at a campsite might have helped this summer evening be a memorable one.
"SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME" sounds so genuine in its sweet seriousness, with Keith’s piano underscoring every note. In Lisa’s unaffected delivery, the wistful message comes through with delicacy and strength.
Lisa says, “I have a long relationship with this song, going way back to my studying at HB Studios in the Eighties. Working on this song, I was torn to shreds by my teacher for "not feeling it." I was never going to accept that. Keith and I did it in one take, at the end of our two day recording session.”
Another understated masterwork is her version of "THE FOLKS WHO LIVE ON THE HILL". Hear how Lisa handles the bridge of that song, a passage many singers flatten. Her deep, gentle sincerity comes through – she’s smiling, not resigned, "This song is my personal "Over the Rainbow," painting a picture of the most sublime, simple life. A perfect home, a perfect setting, a perfect relationship, involving children, and the acceptance of time passing, and things changing and remaining optimistic.”
The music from these sessions reminds me of a time, not so long ago, when jazz and “popular music” co-existed and drew strength from each other: when Joe Wilder and Milt Hinton and Barbra Streisand and Bobby Darin worked together – a golden time, taken for granted, but not forgotten. And we have Lisa Maxwell to thank for this happy marriage of classic American songs and swinging chamber music.
She refuses to show off, to be the "Star". Rather, her singing takes us gently inside the lyrics and the melody, helping us hear afresh what they say and embody about our shared experiences. And by her very graceful approach to these songs, she wins our hearts.
It all comes back to Lisa’s title for this CD, “I think my approach is both happy in my delivery, which will, I hope, make people feel happy as they listen. Additionally, I am FINALLY happy with myself as a singer. It has been a long, determined road for me, all about wanting to get good, and "owning" my interpretations. I have been driven since I was eight years old, and I believe the voice, whether speaking or singing, is MY way to express my soul. Singing is a very physical experience for me, deep inside.”
To Lisa Maxwell, “Each tune is a story to me,” and HAPPY lets us hear and learn from a superb storyteller.
– Michael Steinman, Jazz Lives August, 2011
April 09, 2012
Constance Tucker - All About Vocals
March 07, 2012
Brent Black - Critical Jazz
October 15, 2011
C. Michael Bailey - All About Jazz
October 15, 2011
Bill Rudman,The Music Theatre Project -2
October 06, 2011
Stephanie Trotter - Celebrity Cafe
October 05, 2011
Susan Francis - Yahoo
October 01, 2011
Chris Spector - Midwest Record Volume34/Number 325
Read the liner notes
Chubby Checkers, dancing with my 2 older sisters and baby brother to "Do the Twist". Roy Orbison, "Pretty Woman", The Beach Boys, Julie Andrews, "The Sound of Music", Gordon McCrae, "Oh What a Beautiful Morning", The Supremes, The Beatles, Laura Nyro, Joni Mitchell Bonnie Raitt, J Geils, BB King, Charlie Musselwhite, Howlin' Wolf, JJ Cale, J. Geils, Taj Mahal, John Mayall. I especially loved the blues. So goes a brief history of some of those who influenced me the most and the deepest early on and up to the point that I started to find my own voice. All the while I was hearing Oscar Peterson, Dave Brubeck, Quincy Jones, Miles Davis and so many countless other jazz greats in the background of my life, being played by my jazz-loving father. Music was ever present in our home, but I was the one who didn't take any music lessons. Both my sisters and brother labored away on the piano, recorder, and violin with my patient mother sitting closely by as they played scales, and pieces of pieces over and over. "Every Good Boy Deserves Favor", FACE, all those verbal cues to learn from were just too confusing for me. But I loved listening, and loved singing. My mother was quite accomplished in her technical knowledge and in fact had a lovely lilting voice, always on pitch. My sister Linda took after her. I wanted my own identity. I decided to pursue art, and so off I went skipping happily down that path all the way to art school and New York City.
I was working my way through college, waitressing during the inception of disco. Somebody played Peggy Lee, on the jukebox and I just kept playing her again and again and again. What a sound, what a style, what feeling, what heart, what sensuality. Yes, that's when I got "The Fever". New York had a great jazz station at the time, WRVR, which was on in my apartment any time I was there to listen. From 8:00 AM till I went to sleep it was on. They played everybody, and that was my music schooling. I eventually mustered up the courage to take singing lessons, singing-acting classes, got coached and began a stint with cabaret, all being supported by my day job as a New York advertising art director. That went on for 9 years until in 1993 my son, Lake, was born. My nightlife became occupied with feeding and caring, blissfully so for him. Now my singing was directed to him, with all those lovely lullabies to rediscover.
The Love Affair
But as destiny has it, I met and fell in love with my spiritual and musical soul mate, my husband, fellow advertising exec, jazz pianist, co-creator and producer of Schoolhouse Rock George Newall. With his own love of the music, support and swinging happy style we started working on tunes and more tunes at home in his basement studio, recording track after track, version after version–for 10 years.
2007, fall. Uh-oh, a husky, odd weak sound in my voice. Allergies? A cold? No, after 4 months of devastating vocal decline I learned it was called "Bilateral Vocal Fold Paresis". February 2008, surgery number 1– implants in throat to reposition nerve-damaged vocal chords. August 2008, lypoinjection to beef up damaged tissue. Dec. 2008, tweaking of implants to assure perfect biomechanics of vocal chords. Thank you Dr. Jamie Koufman, for saving my voice, and therefore, my life.
August 2009. I needed to test my new vocal chords. George had finished the latest iteration of Schoolhouse Rock, "Earth Rock", with the great Bob Dorough, who graciously agreed to work with me on a couple duets. Jim Czak, Johnny Post & Bill Moss of Nola Studios graciously record us. My confidence is renewed. Winter 2010. A long, cold, snowy winter. What better time to dust off all those basement tracks, and even come up with some new ones. George did it all, the arranging, the playing of every instrument digitally, the setting up , the recording, and with the patience of a saint. He navigated me through utter despair, tantrums, self doubt, with his generous soul, his even temper and his ever-constant smile, supporting, supporting, supporting. My voice teacher Guen Omeron said to me long ago, "What you are doing today is preparation for what you are meant to do tomorrow". So here we are today, still happily preparing for what we are meant to do tomorrow. - Lisa Maxwell
Lisa Maxwell Return To Jazz Standards Lisa Maxwell's new album Return To Jazz Standards has swing-inspired romps reminiscent of the music in Broadway's musical "A Little Night Music" staring Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch with a lounging strut reflective of Michael Feinstein. Maxwell's rendition of classic jazz tunes touches audiences in a way that incites bliss and a love for life. The gentle mounds sculpted by her vocals along "Meditation" produce a soothing effect on the soul, and the pacifying swells of "Lazy Afternoon" are a joy ride for the senses. Accompanied by her husband George Newall on piano, Maxwell handles the songs with reverence for their crafters and a connection that is palpable. The sensual spirals of the keys through "Love Dance" create a romantic mood, and the flirty bounce of "Call Me," which many might remember from the movie "When Harry Met Sally," is a fine fit for Maxwell's register. The caressing knolls of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart's "My Romance" cloak Maxwell's vocals in warmth and proceed into the trotting rhythm of "Moonlight Savings Time" which spurs her to kick up her heels into a playful tryst. A mix of creamy instrumentation and bubbly riffs, Return To Jazz Standards is pure pleasure from start to finish. Maxwell makes jazz music meaningful and able to induce pleasure in audiences.
Track review of "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To"
Singing jazz standards will never go out of style; the songbook is too fertile, the audience too willing, and the erstwhile jazz vocalists (at least women) too plentiful. The result is a market clotted with a legion of releases where the signal-to-noise ratio is not favorable for the independent artists. But some worthy examples do rise to the surface, fed by deserved attention and fine musicality. Vocalist Lisa Maxwell fights back from the mouthful bilateral vocal fold paresis with surgery and the release of an uncommon collection of standards from the golden age of Tin Pan Alley.
In a mere 1:55, Maxwell—propelled by husband/pianist George Newall—slays Cole Porter's "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To." Composed for the 1943 film Something To Shout About, the song has enjoyed a long and fruitful life in jazz. Maxwell's version follows recent conventional wisdom, where the song is introduced by a voice-bass duet, with the remainder of the combo coming in before the end of the first stanza. Rather than an on-the-beat 4/4 introduction, Maxwell's bassist hurries the signature ahead of the beat, giving the song a momentum of falling in its downward figure. Maxwell sings straight and in solid voice. Newall not only supports, but solos with a dense brevity that wastes no notes or time.
Before you know it, the song is over and it is apparent nothing else need be said.
Return to Jazz Standards is a collection of some of the most familiar oft recorded jazz standards of our time bathed in fresh new arrangements and interpreted a new by New York singer Lisa Maxwell. An advertising Art Director by profession, Maxwell had grown up in a household where jazz music was ever present. Her passion for singing and jazz finally led to a decade-long stint in the New York cabaret scene and the eventual meeting of fellow ad executive/musician, and husband George Newall. Essentially a family affair with husband and wife collaborating on a joint musical project, the album features Maxwell's resurgent vocals and Newall's musical talents as an arranger and musician (performs on piano, bass and drums )
When listening to Maxwell sing, one could hardly tell the singer had once suffered from serious nerve-damaged vocal chords as her introduction of Cole Porter's “You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To” provides no clue. On “Meditation,” Newall accompanies his partner well on a piano solo along with an array of other instruments digitally.
Though Newall is pronounced throughout the album, it's the vocalist who leads the music and here Maxwell delivers. From Ray Noble's “I Hadn't Anyone But You,” “Call Me,” to the immortal “The Shadow of Your Smile,” Maxwell's tender approach to each song is the underlying reason why this album is notable. The music remains warn and accessible as the singer adds her unique touch to other classic from Frank Loesser, Rodgers & Hart and George & Ira Gershwin. Although Return to Jazz Standards is not a swinging musical affair, Lisa Maxwell takes her best shot at framing another soft and beautiful rendition of time-honored standards, and with the help of husband and musician, George Newall, this album hits the mark.
Lisa Maxwell – RETURN TO JAZZ STANDARDS: There’s clearly something to be said for the old standards – & Lisa says it all quite well, thanks very much! Settle back into your favorite groove chair & scope out her rendition of “Lazy Afternoon” – some of the most beautiful strings I’ve heard this year (or last, or the year before) – but it’s Lisa’s high-talent energy that makes the tune come ALIVE! Her rendition of “The Shadow Of Your Smile” will give you a great big grin from ear-to-ear. I’m not always enamored of “standards” albums, because unless they’re infused with the kind of high spirit Lisa brings to all her work, they can feel kind of “re-hashed”; no danger of that here… all 11 tracks are stellar. I give her a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an “EQ” (energy quotient) rating of 4.97.
Lisa Maxwell Continues the 30 Year Love Affair
Jazz standards are musical compositions which are an important part of the musical repertoire of jazz musicians, in that they are widely known, performed, and recorded by jazz musicians, and widely known by listeners. There is no definitive list of jazz standards, and the list of songs deemed to be standards changes over time. Songs included in major fake book publications (sheet music collections of popular tunes) and jazz reference works offer a rough guide to which songs are considered standards.
Not all jazz standards were written by jazz composers. Many are originally Tin Pan Alley popular songs, Broadway show tunes or songs from Hollywood musicals – the so-called "Great American Songbook." A commonly played song can only be considered a jazz standard if it is widely played among jazz musicians. The jazz standard repertoire has some overlap with blues and popstandards.
So the introduction of jazz standards vocalist Lisa Maxwell, who seems to have had a 30 year love affair with jazz. The wife of famed composer and arranger, pianist George Newall - together the two have chosen to create a recording that focuses on songs that speak directly to their close knit loving collaboration Return to Jazz Standards.
Lisa's voice is very endearing; a non-affected delivery gives the listener a pleasing experience. Husband George Newall provides all the instrumentation except for guest artist John Alfred on trombone. All equally contribute to the beautiful fabric of the release. A traditional take on the swinging classic "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To" is a perfect way to open a CD, one of my all time favorite jazz CDs by Cheryl Bentene adopts this same approach. Maxwell and Newall complement each other quite well; Newall creates a perfect pad for Maxwell to sell the listener on the lyric.
Lazy Afternoon," a classic standard that seems to be getting a lot more focus lately, is given a string treatment by Newall creating a dreamy mood for Maxwell to easily maneuver. A truly stellar rendition, this is the track Maxwell really shines on. Her matter of fact delivery is quite effective and transcends the listener to a late night supper club where Maxwell is front and center and the spotlight is firmly fixed on her.
Return to Jazz Standards offers a classic intimate sound and the opportunity to hear the standards as the writer intended, with a focus on the lyrics and the uncluttered simplicity of the catchy melodies, which is why standards continue to shine through generation after generation.
Listen to "Isn't it A Pity" There's nothing wrong with a talented artist paying homage to the greats from generations past. No singer or performer made it to the top without a little help from those that preceded them, and Lisa Maxwell is no exception. Her collection of hits, "Return To Jazz Standards", is a prime example of a genuine talent showing respect for those that influenced her.Produced by the legendary George Newall, "Return" is a sincere tribute to some of the genre's all time greats. Incuded are hits from Cole Porter, Ray Noble, and several others whose efforts helped pave the way for others to have a career in music. From top to bottom, the album didn't have a single track that disappointed, and the music ended with me wanting to hear more. Maxwell's take on "Isn't It A Pity" by George & Ira Gershwin was the best track. It reintroduces the classic song to a new audience with a modern spin to it. This would be the song most likely to see chart success and radio airplay. It just sounds like the perfect remedy for what ails you. It takes a special talent to share their gifts with the world, and an even bigger star to stand aside and give thanks to the artists who influenced them. Lisa Maxwell is sure to have a career with many hits over the next few years, as her class & style shine through with this album. Give "Return To Jazz Standards" a spin today.
Lisa Maxwell Return To Jazz Standards /O's Notes: Lisa has a warm rich voice that invites listeners to relax. It is accentuated by her program selection that includes some bossa nova and many fine standards. She gets slot of help from producer, arranger and pianist George Newall. She sings from the heart sharing her love. There is more to this story! Lisa and George are married. 2007 dealt Maxwell a near artistic fatal blow when she succumbed to nerve damaged vocal chords. Through the miracles of modern medicine she re-emerges in 2009 better than ever. We hear her gratitude and celebration here and it is very good!
One of the continuing surprises, and a pleasant one at that, is discovering the seemingly unending number of 'new' vocalists who appear from the ether fully formed. Lisa Maxwell is the latest jazz diva to appear, though not quite overnight as she has had to endure prolonged surgery on her vocal chords to repair damage. And yet, here she is with a wonderful album of eleven tracks of jazz standards and sounding gorgeous. Supported by her husband, producer and pianist George Newall, Return To Jazz Standards is a very lush sounding album indeed, with Mr Newall providing almost a full orchestra via his keyboards. And for once this digital approximation actually sounds as good as the real thing.Obviously this is a highly romantic album and ideal for soundtracking a late night supper or a cozy night in front of the fire this winter. The template is a cross between the Ella songbooks and the albums of Julie London, which is no bad thing in my book. The songs include: You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To, Meditation, I Hadn't Anyone Till You, Call Me, The Shadow of Your Smile, Isn't It A Pity, My Romance. Ms Maxwell has a voice to die for and makes a mockery of so many of the current crop of women 'pop' singers - it has a caressing velvet feel to it, downright sexy in an understated way, and you can hear every syllable she sings.In under forty minutes she makes the above songs hers and anyone with an ounce or three of romanticism should buy this album to help their pulling power! Quite simply the easiest of easy listening and jazz-pop at its very best. Just buy this.
You're at the record store. A CD catches your attention. You look to see if there are any tunes you know. If so, your attention increases if you're like me. Well, I took an initial look and a first listen to singer Maxwell and liked what I heard. She and pianist-husband George Newall give us a nice, thoughtful selection of standards: "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To", "Isn't It A Pity", "Meditation, "Lazy Afternoon", "What Are You Doing New Years Eve" and more. Some are done with basic piano trio — Maxwell handles a lyric with very natural instincts; phrases like an instrumentalist; and her enunciation is to be admired. Kudos on quality tunes.
Straight ahead, here. Nothing fancy, but then when you’re this talented, trickery isn’t needed. Lisa Maxwell is an artist on several fronts – a photographer, a free-lance graphic designer, and a top-notch vocal artist, as well. It’s an inspiring story – Ms. Maxwell nearly lost her voice entirely to something called “Bilateral Vocal Fold Paresis” three years ago. Several surgeries later, she was putting her newly-refurbished vocal cords to the test, backed by husband/producer/arranger/pianist George Newall.
You might know Mr. Newall by his work – he was one of the “Schoolhouse Rock” guys. He executive produced, and wrote “Unpack Your Adjectives,” along with “Them Not So Dry Bones” and “I’m Gonna Send Your Vote To College.” On this outing, he’s a literal one-man band, playing piano and just about everything else digitially. He’s one guy who sounds like about five.
But he’s in the background here, putting a frame around Ms. Maxwell’s sweet swing. No powerhouse, but when you’re singing as personally as she does, you don’t need to hit the balcony. Favorites on this disc included the Cole Porter classic, “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To;” also Johnny Mandel’s “The Shadow Of Your Smile,” and “Moonlight Savings Time,” which Guy Lombardo took to Number One in 1931.
I find myself coming back to this disc over and over again on the ‘pod, and those three tracks (and maybe some others) will be in heavy rotation in the weeks to come.
Like the title suggests this album is full of Jazz standards, wonderfully interpreted by singer Lisa Maxwell. Standards like the swinging versions of Cole Porter’s “You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To,” Rodgers and Hart “My Romance” and Ray Noble’s “I Hadn't Anyone Till You” with extraordinairy piano solos by Lisa’s husband George Newall, who also did all the arrangements and produced the album.
This is an album full of romance, also and like the lyrics of “Love Dance”, when you listen to Lisa’s lovely voice singing Jobim’s “Meditation” and Latouche’s “Lazy Afternoon”, you gotta turn up the quiet cause love wants to dance. Return to Jazz Standards also includes an elegant version of Mandel’s “The Shadow of Your Smile”. And because the holidays are close, Lisa asks you “What Are You Doing New Years Eve?” This is a perfect album for a romantic evening.
Read the liner notes
August 05, 2011
By: Susan Frances - Jazz Times
August 05, 2011
C. Michael Bailey - All About Jazz
August 05, 2011
Edward Blanco - Ejazz News
January 03, 2011
By: Rotcod Zzaj - Improvijazzation Nation
December 17, 2010
Harriet Goldsmith, Senior Editor - ALL VOCALS
December 17, 2010
Christopher Llewellyn Adams
- CASHBOX MAGAZINE
December 15, 2010
D. Oscar Groomes - O's Place Jazz Magazine
November 04, 2010
John M. Peters - The Borderland (musicwatch column)
November 01, 2010
George Fendel - Jazz Society of Oregon
October 31, 2010
Doug Boynton - Girl Singers
October 23, 2010
Wilbert Sostre - Jazz Times
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