With a Song in My Heart - Gill Manly - Audiophile Audition
Gill Manly doesn't look or sound like any of the many jazz vocalist discs we receive for review. The veteran British jazz singer is a large lady whose note booklet is not filled with sexy photos of herself; she was actually retired and hadn't done a new album in a dozen years, but devotes this new effort to her spiritual teacher, the Dali Lama. But what a voice and delivery! I was thinking of Mabel Mercer, except that Manly has a great voice. She can do the quiet and warm little expressive bits but she can also cut loose when required. She says Ella Fitzgerald was her main musical inspiration for this album. She also trained as an actress, which doesn't hurt her song delivery a bit.
The tune selection is the greatest - there are several Ellington and Strayhorn numbers, two Rodgers & Hart, Dizzy's Night in Tunisia, and a fascinating medley of the theme from Taxi Driver plus Love for Sale. And she makes each one her very own. Her band is no slouch either; Mark Murphy's contributions are appreciated and the muted trumpet of Guy Barker helps expand on the usual piano trio accompaniment situation. Sonics - especially in the multichannel option - are up to Linn's usual high standards and assist the listener in digging into all the subtleties of Manly's unique voice.