Classic American Jazz Los Angeles, CA
You can tell a lot about a musician from the company she keeps. Ever since Sylvia Brooks started performing in the jazz realm, she has collaborated with some of the Los Angeles’ most expressive and accomplished players. On her simmering 2009 debut Dangerous Liaisons and 2012’s captivating follow up Restless she conjured an erotically-charged, noir-tinged realm by exposing the the deep currents of longing, desperation and heartache running through the American Songbook. Her third release doesn’t dispel the shadows with sunlight so much as switch from black and white to Technicolor as Brooks revels in the vividly detailed and consistently innovative arrangements of Kim Richmond, Otmaro Ruiz, Jeff Colella, Christian Jacob, and Quinn Johnson. From the beginning Brooks distinguished herself with her empathic ability to inhabit a song, turning classic tunes into taut and emotionally revelatory tales. In a major creative leap, she’s also telling her own stories now, contributing to three original songs that blend seamlessly with a diverse program that ranges from Cole Porter to Hank Williams to Lennon and McCartney. What unites the sleekly bespoke arrangements is Brooks’ luscious sound and inviting sensibility. Welcoming listeners into her musical world, she takes them on an exhilarating journey deep into the hidden recesses of the human heart, where love, lust and loneliness contend for primacy. It’s a trip that requires an artist with an exquisite sound and a rarified talent for drawing the best out of her musical partners, and Sylvia Brooks has made The Arrangement.
Sylvia Brooks Reviews
The queen of jazz noir changes her look and sound a bit but the cover shot still smacks of a femme fatale slinking down a hotel hallway.
Corralling the crème of LA’s jazzbo community to assist to assist at all levels of the game, she writes a little more, digs some different sounds, but never loses sight of her laser focus as being a top jazz singer that understands her lyrics and knows how to make them new. Chops like this are practically one of a kind and are not to be missed. The reigning queen reigns on.
– Chris Spector– Midwest Record
“A pretty voice wrapped tightly with a blanket of excellent arrangements and wonderful musicians … this album sparkles!”
The Arrangement – MusicalMemories.com
The arrangers on the new CD by vocalist SYLVIA BROOKS, The Arrangement (Sylvia Brooks – 39435) had a dream assignment. Brooks selected 14 songs for the disc, and she asked each of the five gents doing the charts, Otmaro Ruiz, Quinn Johnson, Jeff Colella, Kim Richmond and Christian Jacob to write the arrangements using both brass and reeds. They were free to select the musicians for the sessions from the wealth of possibilities on the Los Angeles scene.
Well this arrangement worked out extremely well. After concentrating on noirish material on her first two albums, Brooks has expanded her horizons to opt for more eclectic programming. She chose a mix of standards like “Body and Soul” “Night and Day” and “Never let Me Go”; a couple of Latin numbers, “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps” and Besame Mucho;” a country tune, “Cold, Cold Heart;” one Beatles song, “Eleanor Rigby;” and three songs with her own lyrics.
Brooks is a strong stylist who took naturally to the charts written for her. She is a confident singer with a pleasing voice who has absorbed the rich treasure of influences from the pop/jazz field, and it is evident throughout the album that she has learned her lessons well. This is a solid outing that feels comfortable from the opening selection, “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps,” to the last, “Angel Eyes.”
Joe Lang- JERSEY JAZZ