Sexy and seductive—these are the best words to describe the vocals of Lyn Stanley. When she sings a song like “Teach Me Tonight,” who is going to be teaching what to whom is quite clear. Of course she has other moods, but sexy and seductive isn’t bad.
Her new album, a compendium of pop hits from the 1950s, Potions (From the ’50s), follows up her successful debut album Lost in Romance where the focus of her musical choices, while including material from the ‘50s, was broader. But no matter what she is singing, she has an enchanting knack for touching hearts.
The album opens with pianist George Shearing’s “Lullaby of Birdland” brilliantly arranged as a cha cha. An ex-ballroom dancer, she likes those strong dance rhythms, and rightly so, they make for a vibrant approach to the jazz classic. Sultry follows with her haunting version of “Cry Me a River,” punctuated by Rickey Woodard’s tenor sax. She goes up tempo, making the point that sexy isn’t the only thing she can do, with the ubiquitous “Fly Me to the Moon.” Her strong and brassy take on “Hey There” is paralleled by Glenn Dewey’s work on trumpet.
For many the ‘50s mean rock and roll, and her set includes transformations of Fats Domino’s “I’m Walkin,’” Leiber and Stoller’s “Love Potion #9,” and a dynamic arrangement of The Five Satins’ “In the Still of the Night.” She does a noir interpretation of “The Thrill is Gone” with some sweet guitar work from Thom Rotella. Her jazzy arrangement of the pop “A Summer Place,” Stanley says, is included as a tribute to Julie London. “After the Lights Go Down Low” has a New Orleans feel thanks, she points out to the piano work of Bill Cunliffe. The classic “Misty,” “The Party’s Over” and “The Man I Love” (in a duet with pianist Kenny Werner) close out the 15-tune set.
Audiophiles will be pleased to note that the album was recorded on analog tape just like it was done in the ‘50s. It is being released not only as an SACD stereo hybrid playable on both Blu Ray and regular CD players, but in a variety of tape and vinyl formats.
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