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MP3 Joy Wright - Just You, Just Me

Solo debut CD from Jazz Vocalist/Pianist/Songwriter Joy Wright, with special guests Eric Marienthal on tenor sax and Jami Dauber on trumpet. Soulful, sophisticated, sassy savoir faire.

15 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Jazz Vocals, JAZZ: Smooth Jazz


The Bösendorfer Lounge at the Westin Grand Bohemian in Orlando features top notch jazz performers playing in a mini-rotunda with a spectacular piano stage center. An adjoining bar room is sumptuously decorated like a European drawing room, with dark corners and heavy drapes. This was an ideal place to hide away for an evening, to escape into anonymity and absorb the music and ambiance.

Joy Wright drew me out of the dark shadows one evening. It was one of those magical concerts for one, although a few tourists did settle in to the ringside seats. Joy asked for requests, and was gracious enough to allow me to fill out an entire song card. My first suggestion was "It Never Entered My Mind", and I half expected a polite, demurring denial. Instead, I heard the second coming of Bev Kelly who was, from my point of view, the penultimate female jazz vocalist. Like Bev Kelly, Joy Wright has exquisite phrasing and superb time, but Joy is also a composer and has a baroque genius for melody. Not only do you hear expert articulation and pronunciation, etching the lyrics as crisply as glass engraving, you also experience shades of Debussy and Rachmaninoff gilding the great standards of our era. Joy has a deep, resonant full tone and certain pitch that glides without "note bending" which can involve flat or sharp deviations that are corrected in the process of sustaining notes. Joy''s sustained notes are those of a musical instrument and notes are built upon and blended, not bent.

Joy and I shared an immediate rapport and we established our musical influences, preferences, mutual acquaintances and passion for the preservation of straight ahead jazz. I learned that Joy came out of the prestigious and savvy North Texas program where she had earned both vocal and academic scholarships. I noted that Joy had also inherited that resonant earthiness associated with Texas Tenors, which enhances the elegant timbre of her voice. Joy also benefited from the experience of the high seas as a cruise ship crooner. She has polish and poise as well as an approachability and gentle humor. Joy also has a natural elegance, not the "fakiness" of the jaded and tourist weary entertainer but the tacit knowing of an accomplished professional musician. All of this is heard in an instant as Joy''s phrasing is never pretentious; her comping never pompous; there is an economy of expression that refreshingly attenuates the nuances of intelligence and emotion.

I MAY BE WRONG is a stylish, sophisticated opener with a wry retro emphasis and superb phrasing. The scatting sets the tone for the session. ON THE FENCE moves from a hypnotic opening to a heartfelt and measured emotional inventory of an unraveling romance. This is a song that plays back in memory like a Broadway eleventh hour torch song. BEAUTIFUL LOVE has an almost Dameronian echo as Jami Dauber layers "Miles"-like statements against the lilting piano and wistful vocal. I''VE GOT THE WORLD ON A STRING features magical sustained accents with a vocal that gingerly navigates the almost too positive thinking. The understatement holds the sentiments in the realm of believability. The blues nuances bring an earthiness and groundedness to the performance. IT NEVER ENTERED MY MIND is just stunning, evocative, emotionally drenching reading that is sheer poetry. This interpretation stands up to the best recorded versions and, if you lower your guard, it may disarm and overpower you. Eric Marienthal just flat "nails" JUST YOU JUST ME and the interplay is blissful and memorable. CAPTURED and LOVERS FOR A DAY are finely structured, well crafted songs that float like snapshots through the mental stream with a telling emotional narration. TWO LITTLE CLOUDS and RAINBOW SLEEVES are as delicate and tender as HUSHABYE MOUNTAIN, and love glows through these tunes as if they were tales told by a Yeatsian faery queen. Each tune, in fact, has its own distinctives and corners to explore, from PRETZEL LOGIC, with it''s refreshingly straight ahead, almost reverent hipness, to the delicacy and sizzle of TRISTE. Each standard is individualized and rotated musically like a diamond to display its facets. Overall, this is a very satisfying musical journey, very much like an ocean cruise. Breezes blow, winds sustain, sunsets gradually melt into the sea, and a warm, glowing satisfaction remains when we return to port.

Dr. Ken Rabac

WUCF Orlando, 89.9 FM

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