With a Song in My Heart - Gill Manly - Home Theater Hi-Fi, Spirit of Change & Bay Area Reporter

Oh my god. The last thing I wanted was to sustain a transatlantic relationship. But I've fallen in love with a new (to me) veteran jazz singer from the U.K. named Gill Manly. As I listen to her start her seductively slow version of Rodgers and Hart's classic song, "With a Song in my Heart," with the intro, "To my joy and delight, it's a new kind of love at first sight," her singing is so intensely personal and focus that I can't help feeling that she's singing just to me.

Given that Manly has emerged from retirement to devote her first album in 12 years to her spiritual teacher and father, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, her intimacy also carries the warmth of a universal embrace. The voice, which expands from soft, half-whispered sweetness to swinging openness, is adorable. Insinuating volumes with every phrase, Gill Manly recorded this album as a personal reflection on the work of Ella Fitzgerald. With the support of subtle piano, double bass, drums, muted trumpet, and Mark Murphy's guest vocals, she gives us such classics as gay composers Cole Porter's "Love for Sale" and Billy Strayhorn's "Lush Life." Among the high-resolution SACD's other tracks, all of which can be played in either stereo or multi-channel format, are Anderson/Weill's "September Song" and works by Ellington and Gillespie. Available in hard copy or downloadable from linnrecords.com, this album is destined to bring Manly countless invites to the grand U.S.A. You've got to hear this fabulous artist.

Home Theater Hi-Fi, Spirit of Change & Bay Area Reporter
05 March 2009