Audrey Silver | Dream Awhile

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Dream Awhile

by Audrey Silver

Eleven standards straight from the American Songbook. All beautifully sung and creatively arranged.
Genre: Jazz: Jazz Vocals
Release Date: 

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1. The Song is Ended
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5:22 $0.99
2. In the Wee Small Hours
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4:31 $0.99
3. Falling in Love with Love
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4:04 $0.99
4. Too Marvelous for Words
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4:46 $0.99
5. I Will Wait for You
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3:55 $0.99
6. So Many Stars
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4:58 $0.99
7. Exactly Like You
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3:14 $0.99
8. That's All
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4:41 $0.99
9. I Can't Give You Anything But Love
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4:37 $0.99
10. Day Dream
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5:57 $0.99
11. I Could Write a Book
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2:21 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Liner Notes by Scott Yanow,
Author of ten jazz books including The Jazz Singers, Jazz On Record 1917-76, Trumpet Kings and Jazz On Film

While Audrey Silver is just embarking on her career from a recording standpoint, her style is fully formed and she is starting off on top. Her voice is distinctive, she knows how to make every sound and moment of silence count, and her improvising is full of subtle surprises. Although Audrey is clearly well-versed in the work of all the great jazz singers, she sounds like no one else.

Dream Awhile came about almost spontaneously. “I had the great fortune to work with the same group of musicians for quite awhile,” explains the singer. “Over time, as certain songs really began to take shape, we would record them. One day, I realized that I had enough material for a CD.” It is easy to understand why Audrey has used these musicians regularly. Pianist Joe Barbato, bassist Joe Fitzgerald, and drummer Anthony Pinciotti accompany and inspire Audrey with their swinging playing while functioning as a tight and highly supportive trio. Guitarist Chris Bergson is an important asset during his three appearances; two of those songs have the creative contributions of Todd Isler on drums and/or percussion.

While the contributions of the musicians should not be overlooked, the main star is clearly the singer. Audrey used the opportunity to record many of her favorite songs. While the 11 numbers are all well known, none have been overplayed and several have been modernized, especially “Too Marvelous For Words,” the opening chorus of “Falling In Love With Love,” and “Day Dream.” Even the more straightforward interpretations have moments where these versions stand apart from previous ones, often due to Audrey’s phrasing and improvising.

Dream Awhile opens with Irving Berlin’s “The Song Is Ended.” Audrey’s version has some surprising key changes that add to the drama of the performance, and her joyful scatting during the closing section is quite infectious. “In the Wee Small Hours” is given a tender treatment that displays Audrey’s understanding of the words. This rendition of “Falling In Love With Love” was inspired by Sheila Jordan who also performed the waltz in 4/4 time. Audrey makes it her own with an unusual opening chorus. Featuring her voice, Joe Fitzgerald’s bass and some percussive sound effects from Todd Isler, the first chorus sets the stage for a cooking version.

“Too Marvelous For Words”, transformed by Joe Barbato’s deceptively simple arrangement, offers a completely different take on this classic song. Audrey contributes to the inventiveness of this version by creating a new and complementary melody. The swinging treatment of “I Will Wait For You,” which is usually taken as a ballad, was inspired by Freddie Cole’s recording. “So Many Stars” was introduced to Audrey by Sheila Jordan and utilizes Jordan’s arrangement in a memorable rendition of Sergio Mendes’ classic piece. Two happy revivals of vintage tunes by the songwriting team of Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields (“Exactly Like You” and “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love”) sandwich “That’s All,” a song that Audrey originally sang as a request and ended up loving.

Billy Strayhorn’s “Day Dream” is usually taken as a slow ballad, but after Audrey heard Percy Heath play it on the cello as a medium-tempo waltz, she chose to perform it in a similar fashion. Dream Awhile concludes with “I Could Write A Book,” an infectious duet with pianist Barbato on which Audrey’s joyful sound clearly expresses her love for the song.

Audrey Silver studied classical piano and cello starting from an early age, but singing was her main love. After graduating from Brown University, Audrey spent a period working in the music business; first at CBS Records and then as the head of marketing for the Chesky label. In 1998 she received encouragement from pianist John Raney and began taking lessons from Sheila Jordan. “[Sheila and I] would do a lot of trading back and forth which really opened up my ears. She was so generous in so many ways. I also studied with Mark Murphy. Mark made me realize the importance of each and every word in a song. Once I absorbed that lesson, my whole style changed.”

Since then, Audrey Silver has worked regularly in the New York area including appearances at 55 Bar, Sweet Rhythm, The Cutting Room, Cleopatra’s Needle, the Anyway Café and lengthy engagements at the Mansfield Hotel’s M Bar, Club Macanudo and Bruno Jamais Restaurant and Club. With the release of Dream Awhile, her reputation will certainly spread far beyond New York City and she will receive some of the recognition that she deserves as an important new jazz singer. Dream Awhile is a very impressive effort.


Reviews


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Andrea Guy

Audrey Silver "Dream Awhile"
When it comes to jazz and singers that perform standards, most of the performers that come to mind are men. Well, move over Michael Buble. Move over Harry Connick Jr. There’s a new voice in town and it’s a lady. Audrey Silver has a voice that’s unforgettable. I think its safe to say that she’ll give the likes of Diana Krall and Jane Monheit a run for their money.

Dream Awhile is a strong sophomore effort for a singer who we can only hope is going to give us many more albums in the coming years. Her debut album Here In My Heart appeared in 2004 and fans have been waiting for new material ever since. One thing is for sure: Dream Awhile was worth the wait.

On Dream Awhile, Audrey tackles eleven songs from the American Songbook and she does it with class. The songs she picked aren’t the same tried and true tracks but more eclectic picks that others may have overlooked.

The album opens with Irving Berlin’s “The Song Has Ended”. The scat at the end of the song gives it a memorable twist. “In The Wee Small Hours” is a heartbreaking song of unrequited love and Audrey sings it with such longing. You automatically sympathize with the woman she’s singing about. That’s one of the things that make Audrey’s singing so special. Her voice is deep and rich, and she has a way of really emoting that makes the songs more intimate almost as though she were singing each one for you.

The songs that stand out the most are tracks like “Too Marvelous For Words” and “So Many Stars”. On the “Stars”, Silver’s vocal style sounds very much like her contemporary Krall, but where the two may have similar sounding voices at times, Silver has a style all her own. My personal favorite is the album closer, “I Could Write A Book”, a very upbeat number about falling in love with a friend. There is only one other song on Dream Awhile that’s upbeat, “Exactly Like You”. These two tracks are toe tappers, and the kind that make you want to grab someone and dance they way your mother or grandmother used to dance.

Audrey’s voice is a treasure. It doesn’t matter whether the songs she’s singing are about falling in love or out of it. Audrey could sing in the New York City phone book and it would sound beautiful. That statement may be cliché, but that doesn’t stop it from being true.

Another reason Audrey’s Dream Awhile is a stellar recording has to do with her choice of musicians. Her current band is made up of many stellar musicians: pianist Jon Raney, bassist Tom Hubbard, guitarist Ed MacEachen, and drummer Ronnie Zito. These players, along with Silver and her voice of gold create an album that jazz fans and casual listeners won’t want to miss.

After listening to Dream Awhile several times, I find myself wondering, if Audrey is this wonderful now, what will her album’s will be like a few years down the line. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Review by Andrea Guy

Kelly O'Neil

Audrey Silver "Dream Awhile"
Audrey Silver does not fail to delight with Dream Awhile. An already established jazz vocalist in the New York club scene, Silver continues to hone her craft with a more mature, finely polished follow-up to last year’s fantastic Here In My Arms. Once again thronged by an outstanding ensemble of musicians, Silver’s talents are exquisitely showcased as she excels in her vocal delivery, song selections, arrangements and production.

Silver has a fabulous knack for engaging the listener with her singing, as is evident in her arrangement of the Hart & Rodgers tune “Falling in Love with Love.” Though the song opens starkly with the bass and vocals, Silver maintains such confident control of the melody that one can almost see her head bobbing and hips swaying as the tempo hastens with the entrance of the piano and drums. Her remarkable ability to sing independently of the other instruments is phenomenal and sounds completely natural as she scats around the piano. The larger degree of scatting on Dream Awhile may evoke a contemporary comparison to a more tender and engaging Jane Monheit.

Evidently Silver is thoroughly enjoying herself on this album and one can almost “hear” her smiling as she sings, yet there is a retained air of sophistication. There are no sharp edges in Silver’s music, but rather a warm easiness that invites the listener in and stay awhile.
The principle arranger for Dream Awhile is pianist Joe Barbato, who gives the keys a bell-like tone as he expertly adds inflections throughout the album, never robbing Silver of the limelight but rather gently elevating her. The two open the well-known ballad “That’s All” with Silver beautifully singing the soaring melody as Barbato does little to accompany her, but rather adds excellent texture with his ivory nuances. Silver skillfully carries through to the end of her phrases and seamlessly changes vowel sounds. After bassist Joe Fitzgerald delivers the bridge solo Silver enters again with conviction through to the coda as she slightly strays from the melody but finishes with flourish with her fantastic fellow musicians.

Barbato’s arrangement of “Too Marvelous for Words” is not as grand. It is still extremely well-executed but the juxtaposition of the piano and vocals in closely related keys in a minor mode sounds strange with the uplifting lyrics, “You’re too marvelous for words like glorious and glamorous and amorous.” Regardless, all of the standards on Dream Awhile are given new life with new interpretations, which is one of the many awesome attributes Silver and her ensemble bring to the jazz realm. Silver shares arranging credits on “Day Dream” and with the addition of guitarist Chris Bergson in a rubato tempo makes this piece a highlight of the album. Just like in Debussy’s La Mer, there is a rich overlaying of the instruments (including voice) as they gently swirl around each other playing unique musical thoughts, yet all contributing to a pleasurable aural sensation.

It is a wonderful privilege to be able to follow an artist as she travels along her musical journey. Thankfully a musician as fine as Silver seems to know where she wants to go and continues to get better with each passing year without fail. Dream Awhile is another gemstone and a truly remarkable effort.
Review by Kelly O’Neil

A devotee

Dream Awhile
....Audrey Silver, at her best, with more songs to move the heart when it needs a little help.

dennis

dream awhile
i could not believe, after listening to audrey's 2nd recording, how she kept under my radar for so long. everything on dream awhile should be considered for a grammy.

Naima Johnston

Audrey Silver, Versatile Song Stylist
In this day of auto tune and infectious-yet-shallow pop hooks, it is a refreshing change to listen to a voice that simply excels at singing. Audrey Silver is one of those voices, and it is the sultry tones of her voice that makes her latest album, Dream Awhile, a well-crafted musical offering.

The greatest strength of this album is in the vocal production. Silver’s pacing, interesting use of dynamics, and her ability to stir emotion takes the listener on a musical journey through the golden age of jazz and big band swing.

Any rendering of timeless jazz standards such as those sung by Silver on Dream Awhile run the risk of being an unoriginal reproduction of a multitude of recordings that have already been done. Silver, however, has found a unique way to present these classics through her rhythmic improvisation and distinctive musical timing while adding to the mix unexpected arrangements, most of which work well highlighting Silver and the band.

Silver is best when she’s swinging songs like, “I Will Wait For You”, “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” and “Exactly Like You”. These are three of the strongest songs on the album demonstrating a fun playfulness and an intense musical joy. Artists can be defined on their ability to transfer the live experience to a recorded project, and when Silver begins to scat, which is a skill not easily mastered, the strength of her vocal technique and the loveliness of her voice portray a gifted artist whom one would want to see on stage.

Even so, there are tracks that fall short of the high standard Silver has set for herself. “Falling In Love With Love” suffers from an uneven arrangement, the introduction is much to slow and the bass distracts from Silver’s lead vocals. When the tempo increases to a full groove and the entire band begins to play, Silver once again shines and gives her listeners the power-packed excitement that jazz can be. Silver’s interpretation of “Too Marvelous For Words” lacks the emotional depth and is flat when compared to the passion exhibited on other tracks such as “That’s All” and “Day Dream”.

“That’s All” is the true gem of this album. Heartfelt and vulnerable, Silver offers an emotional rendition that is gentle and easy. The arrangement is tight and musically subdued so that the listener can focus on Silver’s simple and straight forward rendition. She sings with such honesty and clarity that the song easily becomes a favorite.

Closing out the album with “I Could Write A Book”, Silver once again showcases her stunning vocals. The simple piano accompaniment and uncomplicated arrangement combined with Silver’s high vocal energy closes the project on a high note. The barebones instrumentation on this track affirms once again that Audrey Silver is the star of this project.

Dream Awhile makes a definite statement: Audrey Silver is a versatile song stylist and Dream Awhile is a notable effort.

Review by Naima Johnston