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I'll Take Romance - Daily Telegraph

07 April 2003
Daily Telegraph
Martin Gayford

Singers, these days, seem to be the most popular type of jazz musician. There is a good reason why - vocalists are the custodians of the great mid-20th century American songbook. It is a safe bet that, 100 years hence, someone will be singing Gershwin and Irving Berlin, just as someone else will be performing Wagner and Bach. Tina May is one of several accomplished singers of the classic kind now based in Britain. And on this recording she has the advantage of a highly polished rhythm section, plus - in Scott Hamilton - one of the living masters of the tenor saxophone.

To my ear, the faster the tempo, the better she is. Ballad singing requires a higher emotional charge than her voice possesses (though Hamilton sounds sumptuous in the background). The drawback of this retro-repertoire lies in the august comparisons it is inclined to invoke. But Tina May turns in a version of Come Fly With Me that is peppy and stylish enough to make one temporarily forget that Frank Sinatra once sang the song

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