Sailing Away With Jeff And Veronica
Bruce Von Stiers
I last heard Jeff Rupert on an album where he guest performed with the Flying Horse Big Band. The talented saxophonist is back once again with a brand spanking new album. This album features the ultra-talented vocalist Veronica Swift.
The album is titled Let's Sail Away. It was produced by Jeff and recorded in the spring of 2017 at the Starke Lake Studios in Florida. The recording, mixing and mastering was done by Kendall S. Thomsen. The album is being released by Rupe Media.
This is primarily a vocal jazz album. But there are some serious musical interludes in each song. The musicians providing those interludes and music backing Veronica's vocals are Jeff on tenor sax, Richard Drexler on piano, Marty Morell on drums and Charlie Silva on bass. Richard had performed with Tony Bennett, Freda Payne, Mel Torme and even Cheap Trick. Marty was with the Bill Evans trio for several years. Charlie has played with Glen Kelly, the Jeff Phillips Trio and The Grand Floridian Society Orchestra. Jeff has a ton of credits, including recording with Maynard Ferguson and Sam Rivers.
For one song there were some additional musicians. That song had Dan Miller on trumpet, Christian Herrera on trombone and Saul Dautch on baritone saxophone. Saul was featured on the album Big Man On Campus by the Flying Horse Big Band. Dan has performed with Harry Connick, Jr. and Maynard Ferguson. Dan Miller was also a featured performer on the Big Man On Campus album.
As for Veronica, for a 23 year old vocalist, she has some serious cred. In 2015, Veronica won second place in the Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition. In 2016, she was a guest artist with Michael Feinstein at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Let's Sail Away has ten songs and a play time of fifty-one minutes. The album has a combination of original compositions and classic jazz tunes.
Starting things out is the head bopping Johnny Mandel song, Penrod. Veronica right away shows why she is getting all those accolades. She does a fantastic job on this song. And the guys don't do too badly of a job either. Especially the sax music in between the verses.
The title track, Let's Sail Away, is an original composition written by Jeff. It has a sort of samba styling. There are fluid and sultry vocals by Veronica in the song. The song has a nice piano solo.
The vocals on the classic Pennies From Heaven are excellent.
Even though Vince Guaraldi is probably best known for Linus and Lucy, he had some other terrific songs. One of those songs is Ginza Samba. Not only does the group do a fantastic job with the music, Veronica vocalizes a lot of the notes. The
Slowing things down quite a bit is Beauty Becomes Her. Jeff wrote the music for this song and Veronica wrote the lyrics. It is a sultry, torch singer type of tune. There is great piano and bass in the middle of the song. And there is a pretty decent sax solo in it too.
Then there is the classic Gershwin tune, Rhapsody In Blue. The guys give about a minute and a half intro before Veronica comes in with some tough, brassy vocalization. This is the song that I had mentioned earlier that features the extra musicians. It was a fantastic rendition of the song.
Another Gershwin song is on the album. It is Home Blues. Veronica has great, somewhat sultry vocals on this classic tune.
The eighth song on the album is a medley of two Paulo Cesar Pinheiro songs. They are Vou Deitar e Rolar and Aviso Aos Navegantes. Veronica performed the song in Portuguese. I didn't understand a word that Veronica sang but it still sounded great. It had a terrific samba sound.
Jeff did the music for My Mistress' Eyes. The lyrics come from William Shakespeare. Soft and sultry vocals are supplemented by some great sax and piano.
The final song on the album is Dream A Little Dream Of Me. Veronica does a fantastic job with this classic song.
Jeff Rupert does a great job putting together a group of musicians for an album. Each one of them greatly complements Jeff's sax playing on this album. And I just can't say enough about Veronica Swift. If she keeps it up, Veronica will soon have the same recognition as the top names in jazz vocals.
Let's Sail Away is available at CD Baby, amazon and other retailers.
You will find Jeff at https://www.facebook.com/JeffRupertSax/
Veronica has an official web site at https://www.veronicaswift.com/ She also has a Facebook fan page at https://www.facebook.com/VeronicaSwiftJazz/ .
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© 2018 Bruce E Von Stiers