Christina Crerar | Little Jazz Bird

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Jazz: Jazz Vocals Jazz: Retro Swing Moods: Type: Vocal
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Little Jazz Bird

by Christina Crerar

Swinging jazz vocals with a stellar band, "one of the finest jazz vocal albums of recent times". - Scott Yanow, LA Jazz Scene/All Music Guide/author/critic
Genre: Jazz: Jazz Vocals
Release Date: 

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1. Little Jazz Bird
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3:32 $0.99
2. Thou Swell
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3:42 $0.99
3. Occasional Man
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3:04 $0.99
4. If Yesterday Could Only Be Tomorrow
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4:57 $0.99
5. But Not For Me
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5:08 $0.99
6. Solid Potato Salad
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2:19 $0.99
7. Down With Love
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4:15 $0.99
8. You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
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3:09 $0.99
9. No Moon At All
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3:25 $0.99
10. Hershey Bar
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5:05 $0.99
11. Hallelujah, I Love Him So
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4:45 $0.99
12. Waters Of March
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3:35 $0.99
13. Give Me The Simple Life
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2:39 $0.99
14. Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year
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3:12 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
These days there's hardly a shortage of aspiring female songbirds or of CD's to document their efforts. What's rare is to come upon an artist with as much talent and taste as Christina Crerar and an album as carefully conceived, produced and executed as this one.

"Little Bird" is a recording that soars above most other debuts because Crerar puts her material and musicians first, trusting them not only to showcase her considerable talents but to carry their share of the musical load (pianist Robert Redd, for example, is a major player who is awarded solo space commensurate with his skills). The program itself is a happy inspiration, a mix of the tried and true with the rare and new. Christina has a way of making unjustly neglected tunes like "Little Jazz Bird" and "If Yesterday Could Be Tomorrow" sound like familiar, welcome old friends while chestnuts like "But Not for Me" and "Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year" are transplanted to fertile new ground, receiving fresh yet handsome harmonic face-lifts from arranger Alan Blaylock.

It's a varied, ambitious, and generous program, and Christina owns every bit of it. Her tones are pitch perfect and her pronunciation pellucid. Her vocal placement is high and forward, insuring light, unforced phrasing on a dazzler like "Down With Love," on which she deftly alternates the tongue-twisting syllables of the lyric with a spirited scat chorus. For me the most head-spinning moment on the session is a vocalese unison chorus featuring Christina and trombonist Jim Mc[F]alls--it's as melodically inventive as it is sonically surprising.

For those listeners who care about such things, Christina can evince memories of vocalists such as Nancy Lamott, Blossom Dearie, Jackie Cain, and even Peggy Lee, given the addition of a saucy "Hallelujah I Love Him So." And there's the undeniable genial spirit of Nat Cole, especially with the inclusion of a couple of his more engaging songs. But though she obviously knows the tradition, she's also had time to make friends with a muse that is distinctly her own--personal, infectious, vibrant and playful but never at the expense of the material. The arrangements are as varied as the program, providing accompaniment as spare as an acoustic bass and as full as a tightly-orchestrated swing ensemble. Finally, the production values are first-rate, from the crystalline audio quality and judicious instrument mix to the arresting azure visuals of the insert.

In sum, we can only hope for a sequel soon. Perhaps a debut this perfect leaves room for a more casual approach next time. Playing on the ornithological theme, why not a vocal transcription of Coltrane's "Lazy Bird" or Tad Dameron's "Lady Bird"?

Review by Samuel Chell
September 2005

Personnel
Piano - Robert Redd
Bass - Tom Baldwin
Drums - Dominic Smith
Guitar - Goeff Reecer
Trumpet - Tom Williams
Tenor Saxophone - Jeff Antoniuk
Trombone - Jim McFalls
Flute - Mike Crotty

2004
Recorded and Mixed at Bias Studios, Springfield VA
Arrangements: Alan Baylock, Robert Redd, Tom Baldwin, Christina Crerar, Dominic Smith


Reviews


to write a review

Michael Dunham

Fresh and Upbeat
Christina's voice is clear and pure, the arrangements are classic small combo jazz done by a great crew. Wonderful, listenable jazz.

Arnie Fox

Every number is a gem
Christina makes it sound so easy!! She tackles difficult numbers such as "Waters of March" and "Hershey Bar". Can't wait for her to do a sequel. Perfect pitch! Refreshing!
Ten stars!!!

carrarini bruno

un présage de beauté
voici un disque superbe, un présage de beauté et de merveilles
future,a n'en pas douter le petit oiseau de jazz deviendras un
oiseau de paradis pour notre plus grand plaisir.

Scott Yanow, LA Jazz Scene

Christina Crerar’s Little Jazz Bird is a constant joy.
Christina Crerar’s Little Jazz Bird is a constant joy. The singer’s repertoire is inspired. “Little Jazz Bird,” “Thou Swell,” “An Occasional Man,” “Solid Potato Salad,” “Down With Love,” “No Moon At All” and “Give Me The Simple Life” are the type of songs with their unique lyrics that today’s singers should be reviving. The well-conceived arrangements and frameworks throughout Little Jazz Bird keep listeners guessing and the material ranges from a wordless version of Johnny Mandel’s Hershey Bar” and a vocal-bass duet on “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To” to “Waters Of March” and three songs that utilize a trio of horns. The musicianship by the Virginia-based musicians (pianist Robert Redd, bassist Tom Baldwin, drummer Dominic Smith and occasional guests including trumpeter Tom Williams, tenor-saxophonist Jeff Antoniuk and trombonist Jim McFalls) is top-notch. But best of all is the singing of Christina Crerar. She has a very attractive, flexible and versatile voice. She is perfectly in-tune, interprets lyrics as if she believes the words, is expert at hitting just the right note for the right time, and can improvise with the best. In the old days, she would be a natural for a major label. Little Jazz Bird is one of the finest jazz vocal albums of recent times and is available from www.littlejazzbird.com.

AllAboutJazz.com

Little Jazz Bird is an overachiever that keeps winning my heart and respect...
"It only seems there are more talented jazz divas than listeners, but it's a competitive field, to say the least. Despite strong bids by Karrin Allyson, Cheryl Bentyne, Ann Hampton Callaway, Tierney Sutton, and Diana Krall (to name a few), Christina Crerar's Little Jazz Bird is an overachiever that keeps winning my heart and respect along with repeated playings. In fact, it takes the gold in every event except the commercial one."
-Samuel Chell - 2006 Top 10 New Releases - AllAboutJazz.com

JazzReview.com

...a vocalist who wants to use her voice as a storyteller and as an instrument.
...a vocalist who wants to use her voice as a storyteller and as an instrument. Check out Ms. Crerar's scatting prowess on “Hershey Bar” and with a very cool vocal/trombone solo combo with Jim McFalls on “But Not For Me.”
-JazzRevivew.com, Bruce Pulver