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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby


Janis Siegel

Friday Night Special




    1. The Same Love that Made Me laugh, Made me Cry
    2. My, How the Time Goes By
    3. I Just Dropped In to Say Hello
    4. My Love Is/My Babe
    5. Let It Be Me
    6. Ill Wind
    7. You Don’t Know Me
    8. There’s A Small Hotel
    9. Make Me a Present of You
    10. Misty

Janis Siegel – vocals

Joey De Francesco – Hammond B3

Houston Person – tenor

Peter Bernstein, Russell Malone – guitars

Buddy Williams –drums

The Siegelettes – background vocals

The idea of having a Hammond B3 group with such a powerful line-up was a good one. Joey De Francesco is really good at it and Houston Person always contributes mightily to anything he is involved with and the whole backing group is exceptionally good. In my humble opinion Janis Siegel is not a heavyweight in the female jazz singers division, but she does have a very pleasant voice, which combines with good intonation and diction to make her very pleasant to listen to. I would not miss the opportunity to see her if she did a concert in the Midlands. This recording is her best performance to date, she does not have the built in swing of the great jazz performers, but in this company she doesn’t need it because the musicians provide sufficient swing and lift for everybody.

Let It Be Me was an inspired choice of tracks, the song suits Janis’s delivery and Houston Person plays some great tenor backings over the lush sounds of the Hammond. It was nice to hear Ill Wind, a Harold Arlen song that has been around for a long time, but is seldom heard. You Don’t Know Me was recorded with just guitar and tenor with Russell Malone and Houston Person, it is a fine performance by Janis and the musicians. I was just about thinking this album could do with an up-tempo piece when along came There’s a Small Hotel and all of a sudden Janis starts to sound like the real jazz diva, perhaps she is mostly aiming at a broader audience. On this track the rhythm section is really cooking and both Person and De Francesco contribute excellent choruses. On Make Me a Present Malone plays some nice guitar fills against some soft chords from the Hammond, at the half way mark Person also adds some nice fills and a bluesy middle chorus. Misty is a tune of Errol Garner’s that sounds good at any tempo, Janis takes it at a bright tempo and again on this track she sounds like the real thing!

This is a very well produced album obviously targeted at a wider audience than the minority who go for jazz. I enjoyed it and I would like to hear Janis make an album of swinging standards with the same superb backing group.

Don Mather



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