Mary Foster Conklin: Photographs
2015: Mock Turtle Music
Mary Foster Conklin on Vocals
John diMartino on Piano
Ed Howard on Bass
Shinnosuke Takahashi on Drums
Joel Frahm on Soprano and Tenor Saxophones
Warren Vaché on Cornet
Paul Meyers on Guitar
Nanny Assis on Percussion
Houston Person on Tenor Sax (“For No One”)
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 24, 2016
This recent CD release brings together the fabulous jazz – cabaret vocalist, Mary Foster Conklin, who has been favorably reviewed on these pages, with eight crème de la crème musicians, for outstanding ensemble accompaniment and exceptional solos. Ms. Conklin sings about life, love, loss, and photographs. She celebrates lesser known musical gems, as well as standards and pop tunes, such as numbers by Fran Landesman/Bob Dorough, like “Small Day Tomorrow”. “Moonglow”, noted below, as well as “Autumn Serenade” (DeRose/Gallop), are also featured on this remarkable release. Houston Person and Joel Frahm, both saxophone maestros and both praised over the years on these pages, bring one or more of the thirteen selected tunes to glowing luminosity. Warren Vaché, on stunning cornet, John DiMartino, on vibrant piano, Nanny Assis on pulsating percussion, and Paul Meyers on versatile guitar have all appeared here, over the years, in reviews of recordings and/or live events. Shinnosuke Takahashi, new to these pages, adds nuance and energy to his drums. You will especially enjoy listening to “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most”, now that it’s April, wherever you are.
#2 – Key Largo – Composed by Benny Carter/Leah Worth. This lovely ballad opens with a duet of Howard on bass and DiMartino on piano, introducing a brief, Frahm variation on soprano saxophone. Ms. Conklin sings in sultry, earthy tones, evoking a yearning romanticism. Frahm’s haunting sax echoes in thematic fragments, throughout Ms. Conklin’s languorous vocals. A generous sax, piano, drum interlude shows off the ensemble’s skills, before Frahm, Takahashi, and DiMartino play out the track.
#5 – Cinnamon and Clove – Composed by Johnny Mandel/A.&M. Bergman. Howard, Takahashi, and DiMartino introduce this fascinating tune, with Assis enhancing its clavé tempos. DiMartino’s luscious and magnetic piano solo adds spark to this swinging track. Ms. Conklin sings here with her own brassy sass, infusing the Mandel-Bergman tune with attitude.
#7 – For No One – Composed by John Lennon/Paul McCartney. Houston Person is showcased on this track with his vivacious tenor sax, as he and Ms. Conklin share the bluesy theme. Person’s tenor solo is magnificent and mesmerizing. He’s a seasoned pro, and he expands the vocals in their tantalizing duets. Bass, drums, piano, and percussion add dimension and depth to this enchanting tune. .
#10 – Moonglow – Composed by Will Hudson, Irving Mills/Eddie DeLange. “Moonglow” has always been one of my favorite standards, and on this album it certainly shines. Meyers’ rhythmic guitar, plus piano, drums, percussion, and bass envelop this track with warmth and elegance. But, it’s Vaché’s retro-sounding cornet, in slightly muted effect, that makes Ms. Conklin’s rendition of this renowned standard so exquisite. Meyer’s guitar also adds luster and lightness to the breezy, buoyant vocals, sung in Ms. Conklin’s mezzo range. This is a fine new release for endless listening pleasure.