A Slick Chick - Twisted - Undecided
2005 Red Lips Records
SQ Issue: Winter 2005/6, Volume 16, Issue 1
The Band: Lesley Picchietti Byers Vocals; Peter Benson Piano, Jake Vinsel Upright Bass; Brian Ritter - Drums
Byers has a timeless vocal sound, alternately seductive and innocent. She could easily be slotted next to Chris Connor, June Christy or Rosemary Clooney. Her energy and coolness are impeccable. --- Jerome Wilson (of Cadence Jazz Magazine) from the liner notes.
Like the World Champion White Sox, this Chicago singer hits it out of the park with her newest CD, Undecided.
Byers mixes up great dance songs like Bye Bye Blackbird with sultry ballads like Every Time We Say Goodbye. She has also done a fine job of mixing up the popular standards with lesser known gems like A Sleepin Bee and Hi-Fly.
Dancers who have liked Byers past CDs will also be happy with their purchase of this one. There are 11 tracks, three of which are ballads. That leaves plenty of songs for swing dancers. My favorite song is her cover of Do Nothing Til You Hear from Me. This song shows off Byers vocals as well as shows off her trio.
The trio is tight and swingin throughout the CD. They compliment Byers vocals without ever overtaking her spotlight. There are plenty of opportunities throughout where the trio gets to strut their stuff, which they do quite admirably.
Kudos to Byers for another successful CD!
Bottom Line: To
buy or not to buy
.. BUY! Heres
2003 LPB Entertainment, Inc.
Lesley Byers vocals; Doug Angelaccio alto, tenor saxophones; Ed Enright tenor, baritone saxophones; Jake Vinsel upright bass; Deric Perry drums & percussion; Chris Mahieu piano; Tom Vaitsas - piano
Lesley Byers & The Jazz Cats recreate this era's best music made famous by the times most incredible musicians...Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald. Music to make you want to dance, sing along or just sit back and enjoy the show, all while sippin' a martini...extra dry! Website notes
I was excited to find out that Lesley Byers & the Jazz Cats were releasing a new CD. After hearing Slick Chick and keeping several songs in my regular DJ rotation, I was looking forward to more songs from this band.
There are some really good danceable tunes on this CD but there is clearly a change in direction from their last work. Whereas Slick Chick seems to be more towards great swingin tunes, Twisted opts for a little swing and a lot more jazz. Im not saying thats bad, just different.
Dancers will still be pleased with several songs, including Just One of Those Things, Deed I Do, Too Darn Hot and Straighten Up and Fly Right. But you will notice more emphasis on other great jazz standards that might not fit your lindy hopping addiction.
Some really good straight jazz can be found on the cover of Somewhere Over the Rainbow and some bebop-ish tunes with Twisted. Latin fans will also find a few tunes they like.
My overall impression of this CD is that I like it but from a dance standpoint, I want more. However, the band is very good throughout the CD and Byers singing is top-notch, so I will be content with a few more songs I can dance to.
Bottom Line: To buy or not to buy .. Buy! Heres how:
Lesley Byers & The Jazz Cats
A Slick Chick
2001 LPB Entertainment, Inc.
SQ Issue: Spring 2002, Volume 12, Issue 2
The Jazz Cats:
Lesley Picchietti Byers Vocals; Mike Maratea Upright Bass; Deric Perry Drums & Percussion; Ed Enright Alto, Tenor & Baritone Saxophones; John Proulx Piano; Zvonimir Tot - Guitar
Lesley Byers & The Jazz Cats are an inspiring six-piece group that embodies swingin jazz at its finest. Gathering some of Chicagos most accomplished musicians, The Jazz Cats recreate an eras best music made famous by the times most incredible and notable musicians Dinah, Billie, Sarah, Duke and Ella. Our type of music has been called, Ella with attitude, with a repertoire including smooth and swingin jazz classics and standards. press release
Stop the presses! Get this CD in your library right now! This CD is packed with great versions of your favorite songs and will keep your toes tappin and you hummin along throughout the twelve songs on it! Well, eleven, one is Latin!
Swing dancers are going to rave about the music they will find on this CD. Byers and her boys take on the dance favorites including Love Me or Leave Me and Bli-Blip. The former is a very nice version but Byers vocals dont recapture the Nina Simone attitude. That doesnt make it bad, just another good version to dance to. Bli-Blip was done very well. Its very playful and melodic with great scatting by Byers.
There are numerous songs in the pocket for dancers like Perdido, Mean to Me, Mama (He Treats Your Daughter Mean), and Blue Skies. There is also a fantastic bluesy Black Coffee, where Byers excels with her sexy vocals and excellent phrasing. Byers also lets it go with Mama, breaking away from her comfort zone and getting growly and adding great vocal inflections that you dont hear in the bulk of these tunes.
Faster tunes include Hit That Jive Jack, Lester Leaps In and Big Time. Balboa, Shag and fast Lindy dancers will love these high energy, blazing fast tempos.
The band. Wow! These guys swing hard. There are great solos by all throughout but I should point out great piano work in Mean to Me and Blue Skies. The sax shines in Lester Leaps In and the guitar excels in A Slick Chick.
This is definitely a CD for dancers. Seven of twelve tunes are totally in the pocket and the rest you will have fun with either listening to or dancing outside the pocket. Lesley Byers & The Jazz Cats have one solid, swingin CD for you.
Bottom Line: To buy or not to buy .. Oh yeah, BUY THIS ONE! If you do, heres how: