Remembering jazz standards like “It Shouldn’t Happen to a Dream” by Duke Ellington, Johnny Hodges, and Don George, and “Come on Strong” by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen, vocalist Marlene VerPlanck takes audiences on a joy ride through the balmy pages of yesteryear on her latest offering, The Mood I’m In. VerPlanck performs the tracks with the easy listening aplomb displayed on the originals with the one condition that she does them her way.
Laid-back and showing a positive outlook on life, VerPlanck’s vocals are inviting, encouraging listeners to come to the party and enjoy the music. Her rendition of “Certain People” by Ronny Whyte and John Bunch is swaddled in smooth strokes with a glint of intimacy as she addresses her audience personally, “I’m hoping you’ll agree / Love is a certainty.”
VerPlanck projects the image of holding a conversation with listeners in “I Want to Talk About You,” penned by Billy Eckstine. The melody hones the intimate setting of a candlelight cafe.
“Come on Strong” has a swinging Las Vegas-style atmosphere reminiscent of vintage Frank Sinatra as she entices, “I want to hear violins / I want to see harlequins / I want to take leave of my senses / Whatever the consequences / If you’re gonna love me / Don’t merely love me / Make it like a Cole Porter song … Come on strong.”
Sedate and reflective, “All Too Soon,” written by Ellington and Carl Sigman, displays a storybook luster in VerPlanck’s treatment as though she is portraying a narrative about a boy and a girl leading to a happy ending. The soft glisten of the piano keys and gentle fluidity of the saxophone enhance the mood. Keeping in the vane of love story magic, “This Is Always” by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren, is fashioned with positively charged saxophone furls that give the track a lifting spirit.
From torchlight ballads to casino room swing, Marlene VerPlanck covers the spectrum of jazz standards. Her selection of novelty tracks showcase her dulcet vocal range and her proclivity for a positive outlook on life. The Mood I’m In not only highlights pages from the past but puts the spotlight on VerPlanck’s refined treatment of iconic tunes.
“The Mood I’m In,” “Me and the Blues,” “Free and Easy,” “It Shouldn’t Happen to a Dream,” “Certain People,” “I Want to Talk About You,” “Come on Strong,” “All Too Soon,” “It Started All over Again” / “The Second Time Around,” “This Is Always,” “My Kind of Trouble Is You,” “Too Late Now”