Out of My Dreams, the third album from Los Angeles-based jazz vocalist Joanne Tatham, is an engaging set of creative musical interpretations. Tatham, an East Coast transplant who left what the liner notes call a “budding career” in musical comedy in New York to marry and raise a family, explains that the change in lifestyle led to an artistic change as well. It led her to “burst out into what I feel is my essence.” That essence has its roots the swinging jazz pop she had grown up with. Musical comedy’s loss is jazz cabaret’s gain. Out of My Dreams is as fine an album of jazz vocals as you’re likely to hear this year.
Tatham has a warm, lilting voice that can handle sultry or swing with equal power. The 11-song program shows the singer in a variety of moods working with a range of different material—Broadway show tunes, jazz pieces, Latin rhythms, and even a Dave Frishberg comic gem. And Tatham has the vocal versatility to deal with them all.
She opens with a powerful reading of the McCoy Tyner composition, “You Taught My Heart To Sing,” joining her vocalese intro with the sax of Bob Sheppard. This makes way later for some vibrant piano solo work from Tamir Hendelman. Harry Nilsson’s “Without Him (Without Her)” follows in a Latin arrangement, the first of a number of Latin pieces: Jobim’s “Vivo Sonhando” and Jon Lucien’s “You’re Sensational.” The latter features Brazillian born Marcel Camargo on the cavaquinho.
She is no less adept with the ballads. Her interpretation of the metaphoric “Detour Ahead” is a softly enticing warning, and her dark reading of Marilyn Harris and album producer Mark Winkler’s “In a Lonely Place,” could have been featured in a noir movie. Add Sheppard’s sax and some fine bass work from John Clayton and you have a classic in the making.
She does a sprightly version of the overly cute comic lyrics of Frishberg’s “Too Long in LA” and ends the set with a sweet rendition of “Out Of My Dreams” from Oklahoma. But perhaps the most exciting piece on the album is her darkly dynamic take on “Cool” from West Side Story, it alone is worth the price of a very fine album of vocal jazz.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00QI61DHO]