Lauren Hooker: Life of the Music
Lauren Hooker on Acoustic/Electric Piano, Djembe Drum
Jim Ridl on Acoustic Piano
Martin Wind on Acoustic/Electric Bass
Tim Horner on Drums, Congas, Pandera, Shaker, Whistles, Flute
Scott Robinson on Flute, Soprano, Tenor, and Alto Sax, Flugelhorn, Trumpet
John Hart on Acoustic/Electric Guitars
Jeanette Curtis Rideau on Spoken Word
Guest Artist: Mike Richmond on Cello, Acoustic Bass
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
August 10, 2013
This CD is a selection of vocalist Lauren Hooker’s original compositions and songs by Rodgers/Hart, Bernstein/Comden & Green, Joni Mitchell, and Donaldson/Kahn. Each track evokes a new mood, new tempo, new musical persona, and new combination of instrumentals. Seven musicians join Ms. Hooker, most on a combo of instruments, adding richly textured harmonies and solos to each track.
#3 – Love Me Or Leave Me – Composed by Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn. This upbeat, swinging track is infused with energy and rhythm, as Ms. Hooker shapes her vocals for a midnight sound. Scott Robinson, on soaring saxophones, and Jim Ridl, on rambunctious piano, are generously featured, along with Martin Wind on buoyant bass and Tim Horner on understated drums.
#7 – Spring Is Here – Composed by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. This popular ballad gains a refreshing interpretation here with Robinson switching to flute with some very tropical flourishes. Both bass and drums are highlighted in syncopated riffs, while the piano leads the melodic interludes. Ms. Hooker’s vocals are intermittent, as she gives her band the spotlight.
#8 – Countin’ On the Blues – Composed by Lauren Hooker. This jazzy Basin Street styled tune is performed with engaging ebullience and sass, as Ms. Hooker leads her spirited band with powerful vocals and compelling lyrics. Robinson adds trumpet to the brass, with vibrant effect, and John Hart comes in on electric guitar, for a dash of edge. The bass on this track is electric, as well, and there’s nothing understated about the drums.
#11 – Some Other Time – Composed by Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green. This song is taken to an elongated, languorous rhythm, with Ms. Hooker softly belting its brief story. Only Mike Richmond on acoustic bass and John Hart on electric guitar join in, resulting in tonal clarity and gorgeous solo and duo string riffs. The bass solo is bluesy; the guitar solo melancholy. This CD offers remarkable plushness.