Indigo Rain Reviews
Along with stellar vocals, strong writing, and tight arrangements help make Sandy Foster's latest release glisten with passion.
INDIGO RAIN is the Edmonton native's sixth album, and she's honed her craft for the better part of a decade, either as a solo performer, part of a duo, or with a full band. INDIGO RAIN combines elements of fine musicianship throughout the album, each with their own personality.
This album admittedly is not going to be to everyone's taste all of the time. This is more suited to an otherwise quiet intimate setting, with a candlelit room and a fireplace for a backdrop. Foster weaves seamlessly between laid back lounge style Adult Contemporary to swinging jazz. With subtle hints of light pop and blues thrown in the mix. The fact the record is so well done warrants the attention of any serious music lover.
Foster's choice of covers is impeccable - Connie Kaldor's "Bigger Than Anywhere Else," John Hall's "Dance With Me," a fresh dusting off of the old east coast traditional tune "Beautiful Isle of Somewhere," and the old standard covered by nearly half of the classic country roster, "Make The World Go Away."
Her original recordings are just as stellar, written with emotion, with emphasis on the soul. An electric guitar isn't heard much, but the solos in "Tell Me Yes" and "Into The Blue" scream of intimacy. Not having unnecessary extra studio work done gives the solo the prominence it deserves, perfect compliments to a pair of particularly well-done haunting numbers. It's the same slick production value that lets "That's Enough Blue," "Deep Blue," and "Cerulean Sernade" shine.
The organ-driven "Nothin' But Sea and Skye" and carefully restrained rock rhythms of "Time To Go" are the most uptempo songs that beckons a second lesson, then a third.
Sandy Foster's in possession of one of the most soulful voices on Alberta's independent scene. Her influences include the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Natalie Cole, Diana Krall, and Eva Cassidy. Those early seeds have blossomed into an overall very good album. She's just as willing to seduce you with a piano ballad as she is to bring back memories. It's her ability to write relateable songs, from experiences, hopes and dreams - and then transform them in the studio that makes her, and INDIGO RAIN, special. CD review: INDIGO RAIN By: Dan Brisebois
Remember the days when it didn't take two, three, even four years between an artist's releases? Back when songwriters wrote songs because that's what they did, not because they had marketed an album to death and needed a new one to start the process all over again? Well, Sandy Foster is set to release Indigo Rain, her sixth release in just over six years. Because that's what songwriters do. (Vue Weekly)
"Sandy Foster's latest effort would be best served up with a nice, dry red wine and a dimly lit room. Fans of her past work will notice that, like the wine, Foster's voice gets better with time, as she displays a new maturity in terms of both her tone and phrasing. It is a high-water mark in her recording career, to date". Kurt Leavins, Magic 99
Foster's Jazz Confection (Roger Levesque, Edmonton Journal, Friday March 23, 2007)
When it comes to summing up the process of her latest recording project, local singer Sandy Foster kept thinking about the process of making candy.
"The swirl of caramel seemed the closest parallel to life and relationships as expressed in this collection", explains Foster in her liner note for the new independent release Caramelize (available via Indiepool). If you think that title suggests the tunes are sweet confections, you would be partially correct because, most of the tracks are love songs. This may be Foster's most personal collection yet – she wrote or co-wrote 7 of 11 tracks – and it surveys a range of relationships from friendship lost and found to the singer's relation to God.
Produced by René Worst, it features pianist Andrew Glover, guitarist Wes Yaciuk, and flautist Kevin Andrews among others with Foster taking over the keyboard for four tracks. While she's not a vocalist to take many chances, she obviously enjoys shaping strong melodies and bringing real sincerity to the material. A spare take of Bye, Bye, Blackbird is one of the most challenging tunes on the album.
Someone is noticing. Caramelize is Foster's fifth release in about four years (including a recent Christmas album). Her sound and savvy efforts at self-promotion have helped her win recognition internationally and here at home on radio stations like Magic 99.
Muse Review of Caramelize July 16, 2007
Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10
Song writing Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
CD Review: Canadian Jazz perfectionist Sandy Foster has released her fifth album in five years!
I feel I should repeat this – five albums in five years. That’s one heck of an accomplishment that not many artists can boast of, in fact; it should be a world record. Somebody needs to call Guinness Book of World Records, this should be checked out.
Caramelize is the latest by Sandy Foster who has delighted jazz audiences with all her previous efforts: Purplexed – 2003, Orangify in 2004, Marooned – 2005 and Spruce it Up released late 2006. Caramelize is a mix of seven original compositions, three jazz standards (Bye, Bye Blackbird, My Romance, That’s All) and an original arrangement of a folk classic - (Who knows where the time goes).
‘Still’ starts off the album, with its mellow rhumba beat and Sandy singing the main melody line followed in close pursuit by flute. This is a great album opener. Definitely a dancing tune this one.
‘Let’s go for a walk’ is a soft semi-swing number, there’s a short piano solo in the bridge, where each note appeared to be carefully chosen. This, in addition to the ending piano line made the song priceless.
‘Blind Fish’ has this melodic and eloquent flute solo, followed by a silky bass solo. Sandy has this way of fitting the words right into the groove of the beat.
‘Stay awhile’ has this happy, familiar feeling to it, the arrangement of the chord progression and melody line after the verse lifts the song beyond the horizon. There’s a chirpy guitar solo, with such a warm tone, it did great justice to an already strong track.
‘To be two’ and ‘Where can you be’ are more somber, mellow piano focused numbers. They fit in amongst the happier songs and sort of add variance to what would otherwise be a very snappy, cheerful jazz album.
‘Who knows where the time goes’ is a lovely piano piece, I particularly liked how the chorus line was repeated, in a sort of syncopated fashion, the lines appeared to fit right on top of each other.
‘Bye, Bye Blackbird’ has such a snazzy guitar solo, followed by one grandeur, cascading piano solo. It was an excellent interpretation of this jazz favorite.
‘That’s All’ closes off the record, it is such a romantic song, and a fitting way to leave any listener – jazz critic or not; in a content state, and ready to play the album, all over again.
René Worst was in charge of mixing and producing the record, while Tony Chamberlist handled engineering, mixing and mastering duties. Music on the album was handled by Kevin Andrews on flute and drums, Glenn Durksen on upright bass, Sandy Foster on keys and vocals, Andrew Glover – keys, Wes Yaciuk on guitar with guest appearances by Miles Black on keys and René Worst on upright bass.
On a side note, I recently had the honor of hearing Sandy perform live at her CD release party at Lula Lounge, June 4th, 2007. In one sentence – she is flawless! She made singing look so easy, as if she was having a conversation with melody and harmony as her two friends. The musicians who played with her were just absolutely amazing including Kevin Andrews on flute/drums (who was just so sleek with the groove and those brushes), Charlie Austin on piano (he made his piano work look like first nature, absolutely no stress, just focus and finesse), Wes Yaciuk on guitar (I particularly loved his finger work on many a solo that he took that nite, it seemed like a seamless flow of notes) and Toronto’s own Dave Young on upright bass (this guy has chops! amazing speed, that’s all I have to say).
I noticed throughout both sets that night, Sandy never stopped to take a drink of water in between songs, I later asked her about that. Her response was ‘when you sing for five hours at a time at some gigs, two-45 minute sets are fairly straightforward’. My next thought was – ‘Five Hours!’ This is not a jazz musician, this is a jazz perfectionist, she’s not in a class by herself, she’s creating her own class of music from scratch.
Like her previous two albums I’ve reviewed this is another fine accomplishment, fit to be right alongside all the great jazz classics of our time. I look forward to hearing Sandy’s sixth release in six years.
It is still amazing to me that more people outside of Alberta Canada do not know about the luxurious smooth vocals of jazz singer/composer Sandy Foster. Her recent release of Caramelize is a collection of seven original tunes and covers of four others. Foster created new arrangements for Brandt and Haymes’ “That’s All” and Sandy Denny’s “Who Knows Where The Time Goes.” The petite blonde singer proves once again that it is only a matter of time before the rest of North America is drinking in her music.
Foster collaborated with Andrew Glover to create a new standard “Blind Fish” which features a fabulous upright bass solo by Glenn Durksen. Flautist Kevin Andrews who also doubles up on the drums blows some sweet notes.
Caramelize was recorded live at Mike’s Place in Edmonton and was not digitally altered. The CD was mastered in Surrey’s Carltone Studio. That being the case I was impressed with just how tight the ensemble sounded. Andrew Glover was on keys, Wes Yaciuk is back on guitar, Tony Chamberlist (percussion), Miles Black is the organist for “Livin’ On Love” and René Worst is the guest bassist on “Where Can You Be.”
As Foster coos, “My romance doesn’t need a thing but you,” from Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s “My Romance” you have to believe she is singing to or at least holding the image of her husband Kevin in her mind because she is very convincing.
Miles Black’s organ chops give “Livin’ On Love” a strong blues flavor and the change of cadence in Foster’s vocals demonstrates her versatility as a singer.
From the roaring twenties, flapper girls and the Charleston comes Mort Dixon and Ray Henderson’s “Bye, Bye Blackbird”, with new arrangements from René Worst. This rendition takes a bit of getting used to as I was expecting the livelier version however once you settle in you will enjoy this beautiful arrangement. Andrew Glover’s nimble chops on the keys clearly lead the way as he gives another fine performance.
You can listen to the full 4:33 of the first track “Still” at Sandy Foster’s myspace site www.myspace.com/SandyFoster. Three complete tracks from other Foster albums can also be heard. Visiting the site however should come with a warning to make sure you have your credit card handy because by the time you listen to this good Canadian jazz vocalist you will want to visit one of the online stores where her music can be purchased. Joe Montague, Riveting Riffs
Sandy Foster, Caramelize
Still trying to write jazz numbers in the manner of the old standards? Let's go for a walk through Sandy Foster's Caramelize. Where can you be offered a combination of clever lyrics and mellow instrumentation, without looking like a chump copping to secondhand nostalgia filtered through the hangover brought on by the cocktails-and-swing-dancing fad of the '90s? Caramelize gives you what you need. Blind Fish tries to make the leap back to Harold Arlen's procedure of stringing an extended metaphor across a song whose verbal repetitions and deceptively simple harmonies evoke the blues. Stay awhile, listening to the words and floating along with the instrumental passage, and you will have to admit that Foster takes you close to giving you what you need, but doesn't quite deliver. To be two kinds of jazz at once, a music of improvising instrumentalists and of emoting, interpreting vocalists, is a challenge in a world where jazz is no longer entwined with commercial popular music. Virtuoso improvisation is about the only way the New makes it into current jazz music. Vocalists don't have an army of lyricists turning out songs for musicals or for a popular music market that appreciates jazzy music, so they have to transform pop tunes into something that sounds like music produced by canonical vocalists. (Foster employs this strategy on her cover of one of Fairport Convention's most haunting songs, Who Knows Where the Time Goes?). Or they have to write their own tunes. In times past, an improviser could play off the listener's memory of a song's lyrical content or a familiar melody line, while a singer could embed the lyrics in vocal textures inspired by the inventions of the instrumentalists. My Romance, bye-bye Blackbird and That's All show Foster and her band's ability to practice an older mode of jazz-making, to take standards in original directions without dissolving song structure in showy noodling. Foster's own compositions are decent attempts to provide lyrical content with musical invention but don't seem to inspire the musicians to heights of great invention. (Erik Weissengruber, Broken Pencil)
Spruce It Up Reviews
Sandy Foster blows through your stereo speakers like a breath of fresh air. Her sprightly lyrics, blithe delivery and fun personality brighten every room she graces. (Kurt Leavins, Magic 99)
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada is not exactly a name synonymous with jazz music but this year you will do well to add Sandy Foster’s Spruce It Up to your list of "must haves" for your Christmas music collection. The album combines three original Foster compositions, “Spruce It Up,” “Christmas Crossmass” and “Snow Wonder I Love You,” with some old standbys such as “The First Noel,” “Joy to the World,” “Frosty the Snowman” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” set to new arrangements.
Matt Day sparkles on the keys with the jazzed up “Joy to the World” and Foster’s soprano vocals let loose for the first time on the CD giving us a foretaste of a live performance. “Some Children See Him” packs an island beat juxtaposed to flautist Kevin Andrews. You can hear the smile in the notes of “Frosty the Snowman” as the petite blonde chirps this delightful children’s tune. Once again, Day’s piano chops provide a great comp to Foster’s vocals.
Foster’s style led Kevin Leavins, program director for radio station Magic 99 to say, “Sandy Foster blows through your stereo speakers like a breath of fresh air. Her sprightly lyrics, blithe delivery and fun personality brighten every room she graces.” Foster stays within her range and this makes for a relaxing and enjoyable experience for the listener. Too often at Christmas time, artists put choral numbers or songs on their Santa’s wish list that leave the listener cringing, wondering if they are going to make to the next note or forever lie maimed at the foot of the Christmas tree. You never get that feeling with Foster. She is easily in command of the vocals and in sync with the arrangements. “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” may rankle traditionalists, but if you like your music a little bit sultry and very emotive, then you are going to love Foster’s rendition.
My favorite tune on the record is “Snow Wonder I Love You,” penned by Foster. She came up with some great charts and this is a song that should receive a lot of airplay if the DJs have their headsets on straight. We have a good love song set to jazz music that preserves the festive spirit. Although this is a solo and not a duet, I rank this one right up there with the 1949 Academy Award winning song “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” The later being recorded in more modern times by duets such as James Taylor and Natalie Cole, Holly Cole and Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies and Ray Charles with Betty Carter.
Grab an eggnog, cuddle up with your honey and relax to this wonderful CD. When you get to the last two tracks turn off all but the Christmas tree lights turn to your sweetheart. Joe Montague, Riveting Riffs Joe Spruce It Up Review
Brett Holmes reviewed Sandy Foster’s Spruce It Up (Nov 2006) and had this to say:
Only 301 sleeps til Christmas!!! I know. I know. I know what you are saying. Christmas in. . .February? The theme of Christmas is a difficult one to master and convey as interesting when it comes to classic tunes we hear year in and year out. Yet obvious thought has gone into making this project special. As I heard the voice stylings of Sandy Foster, the combination of Jazz and Christmas made a wonderful combination, like hot apple cider and cinnamon sticks over the holidays….
say, “I love you.”
CD REVIEW: Sandy Foster – ‘Spruce it up’
By Francesco Emmanuel - 11/24/2006 - 05:56 PM EST
Artist: Sandy Foster
Album: ‘Spruce it up’
CD Review: I am rather happy to be doing a review for this latest CD by Sandy Foster, last year I had the honor of reviewing her third album ‘Marooned’ which was simply a smooth jazz masterpiece. And now, she has recorded a Christmas album.
‘Spruce it up’ has arrived just in time for the holiday season, it features a few classics like ‘The First Noel’, ‘Joy to the World’ and ‘I’ll be Home for Christmas’ and songs written by Sandy herself including the title track and album opener ‘Spruce It up’, ‘Christmas Crossmas’ and ‘Snow Wonder I love You’.
I’m even more convinced now that Sandy is a certified jazz crooner, one of the finest in her field, her voice is soft and smooth, and she has such great tone and control. And because of that the songs here have a light-hearted feel, and really do bring out the joy of Christmas.
The album starts off swinging with the title track, a few nice key changes between the chorus and verses, a finger-snapping piano solo intermingled with guitar, with Sandy singing her heart and soul away.
‘The First Noel’ has a graceful flute line and an unusual drum pattern that builds momentum throughout the song; it adds new life to a timeless favorite. Sandy holds out the long notes here with finesse and feel.
The guitar solo that follows Sandy’s flawless and at times gut-felt singing in ‘Joy to the World’ is certainly superbly executed, when it finishes, Sandy just picks right back up where she left off. The song has this funky/ jazz timing to it, the use of organ dictates the vibe of this one for sure.
Frosty the Snowman’ has a harmonious piano solo in the bridge. The musicians here are definitely top-notch. ‘When Lights are lit on Christmas Eve’ has a Latin-jazz flavor, with a sizzling flute solo and standard piano rhythm that has become the signature in Latin jazz pieces. It is short and sweet.
The list of seasoned musicians who play with Sandy time and again are as follows:
Kevin Andrews (flute/drums), Wes Yaciuk (guitar), Matt Day (piano) and Glenn Durksen (upright bass). These guys know their stuff.
Sandy’s liner notes displays that she is an artist who realizes how much one’s life-work and music are intertwined, and that life is not measured by what we own, but who we have in our lives and what we do with our time, for the benefit of all around us. She’s also one who acknowledges the presence of God in her life and music career.
She has listed her favorite charity also, so when you have a chance, please check out Global Neighbors Canada at www.gnci.ca
It is noteworthy to mention that this is Sandy’s fourth album in four years; previously she has released ‘Purplexed’ 2003; ‘Orangify’ 2004 and ‘Marooned’ 2005. Each has garnered critical acclaim and nominations from various jazz associations across Canada and North America. ‘Marooned’ won the 2006 GMA Covenant. So it is fair to say that she’s one busy jazz artist.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Sandy has another album in mind for 2007, and I cannot wait to hear what this great jazz singer will do next. If you are looking for a new Christmas album, then might I ask you to ‘Spruce it up’ with Sandy Foster.
Easy on the ears
author: Brian Sturton
Lovely vocals, I really enjoy this entire CD, and not just the two that have been receiving airplay on our local station (namely, Taint What You Do & Quiet Nights). This CD is to be recommended for anyone looking for some quality music.
Sandy Foster gets into a mellow, jazz inspired mood on her new third CD, Marooned. She has a sultry, sexy, seductive and immediately captivating voice, which would threaten to lull the listener right to sleep, if she didn't keep picking up the tempo throughout. She knows how to hold a note and set a mood. Peppy piano riffs set the toes a tapping on tracks like (Do) I Worry About You. Vocally, Foster sounds a lot like Sade throughout. She sounds like she is having a lot of fun, even though in the liner notes, she explains this CD speaks of the consequences of people isolating themselves. Genre: lounge jazz (*** ½) Richard Amery, Daily Miner & News (Kenora, ON)
One of the reasons I like a lot of classic Oscar Peterson albums is Ray Brown – the bass player. You can imagine his fingers plucking the bass, a well defined, but not gentle motion for a low, clean, springy sound. It’s a backwards way to begin a review – alluding to Glenn Durksen, the upright bassist on Sandy Foster’s latest album, marooned, in this way. However, his playing is one of the first things I noticed on this album – tight, consistent, springy.
She bills herself as smooth jazz – and that’s fairly accurate. Her songs don’t have the lounge feel of Tony Bennett, or the instrumentation, for that matter, and is more analog than, say, Chris Botti or David Benoit. I’m thinking she’s somewhere between Diana Krall and Holly Cole – fewer covers, more original tunes, spare arrangements. Such are labels – I could just as easily call this an example of cool jazz.
The two tunes she does cover on the album – T’Ain’t What You Do and Quiet Night of Quiet Stars, are representative of the curious mix of tunes that inhabit this album. She definitely tries for an Astrid Gilberto feel on Quiet Stars, straight down to the somber guitar strumming. What strikes me as odd is that what I consider the definitive version, on the 1964 Getz/Gilberto album, is subtly different, world-wise. Both Foster and Frank Sinatra choose not to mention the place ‘Corcovado’ in the song at all, singing,“the mountains and the sea,” instead. It’s a minor complaint, really, but I’m fussy; turns out I like the exception rather than the rule.
The lead track, Cranberry Jazz, is a sweet tune – Canadian jazz seems to have a real sense of whimsy. It’s a standard swing tune, with familiar patterns. Much of the album can be looked at that way – pleasant arrangements, but not straying too far from the traditional. While I’d like to see some of the reaching I’ve heard in some of the other albums that have crossed my way in the past few weeks, carefully sung, crafted jazz is still pleasurable. In some respects, I’d like her to stray from the formula a little; it’s a little too “adult contemporary” for my tastes. Nevertheless, it’s well done and folks looking for a solid Canadian artist to grace romantic dinners, this is a worthy candidate. Kiss my Jazz…Daniel Klein Story From Argus News - Lakehead University Student Newspaper Volume 42, Issue : A&E Section http://argus.lakeheadu.ca?selVol=42&selIss=7§ion=5&article=156
November, 2005 CD Review: Sandy Foster’s Marooned
Sandy Foster is a Canadian singer/songwriter, from Edmonton. She has a sound similar to Natalie Cole. Sandy Foster is amazing. She sings about everything from loneliness to happiness. Her jazz vocal skills will clearly make her a big star, as she knows how to hit the right notes. She shines on her original song “Cranberry Jazz”; all but three songs on the album were written by Sandy Foster herself. I strongly recommend this album for the jazz fanatic in your life.
Kim Morgan, The Mind’s Eye
October 29, 2005 CD REVIEW: Sandy Foster - Marooned
Marooned is Sandy Foster's third studio album, released June 2005. The last three years has seen the dawn of this latest Edmonton Jazz crooner. Sandy debuted Purplexed, January 2003, which was nominated for Jazz/Blues album of the year (VIBE Awards 2004), her sophomore effort, Orangify was nominated for Jazz/Blues Album (SHAI Awards 2005). From the sound of things, Sandy's music can never be marooned on anyone's shelf for long, it might be a permanent fixture in your CD player though.
Soft, standard jazz formats are accompanied by piano, guitar, upright bass, flute, drums and soprano sax. There are a few slow-paced, contemplatative piano numbers, along with a couple of swing tunes, there's also three mambo/latin-flavoured pieces. The album opener, 'T'aint what you do,' written by Sly Oliver and James Young, just has that jiving, groovy, finger snapping, feet clicking kinda feeling. The title track that follows suit shuffles along in a mambo vein, Sandy does a great job of adding vocals ever so elegantly. 'Play a song for you, ' a beautiful prayer-like tune for all the children in this world, pauses now and then for Sandy to offer up her musical thoughts.
Her mid-range vocal style has a tone similar to that of Sade and Norah Jones; soothing, calming the listener (it certainly calmed me!) The duo 'Meet me there' where she's accompanied by vocalist/saxophonist Dave Babcock is laid-back and sultry. Dave's deep croon allows Sandy's voice to take on a different shape entirely, rather than crowding her out with his vocals and sax playing, the entire song has just enough breathing space to allow all three melody lines to exist interdependently.
In fact, no instrument overpowers each other, but rather works cohesively to produce this well crafted, subtle jazz piece of art. What is derived here, is the level of maturity each musician brings to the table. It is said that we are only as good as the people we associate ourselves with, in this case, Sandy has just the right talent behind her voice.
Each song has it's own story, which Sandy briefly reveals in the liner notes of the CD jacket. She gives the listener a look into her world, both musically and lyrically.
She is a jazz singer/songwriter, telling tales of her life, her family, her loved ones, joys and sorrows. It is for that matter a rather personal, heartfelt album. It is an album about the very existence of our humanity. It is a positive record of hope.
Sandy draws listeners into her world, but yet tells it in such a way that anyone can relate to her songs. With three albums under her belt, and with critical recognition for her work to date, Sandy's Marooned truly is a lovely, well written and produced standard jazz album.
Francesco Emmanuel , The Muse’s Muse
October 12, 2005 Sandy Foster - Marooned (2005)
Sandy Foster can be considered among the greats of modern Canadian jazz vocalists standing beside the likes of Holly Cole, Diane Krall and Molly Johnson even if her talents are just beginning to receive recognition. Not just a voice (and a gorgeous one at that), Sandy composes and writes all of her own music. Marooned contains 11 songs of which nine are originals and except for a collaborative effort on, "Meet Me Here" all were written and composed by Sandy herself.
This is Sandy's third CD (following Purplexed (2003) and Orangify (2004)) and she seems to be on the cusp of star-recognition for her hard work. Highlights of the CD include a beautiful rendition of the Sly Oliver/James Young song, "T'Ain't What You Do," a song about facing loss, "Thankful," and a foray into pop sensibilities with "Cranberry Jazz." The latter song begs the question of whether Sandy was listening to a Connie Kalder album at the time she was inspired to pen it to paper as the make-up of and the ending lyrical surprise has the humour of Kalder written all over it.
Sandy ends the CD with another striking cover. "Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars," a song by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Gene Lees, is approached with smooth vocals and is a fitting outro to an album that begs for CD player time during those restful hours of quiet contemplation.
Scott D. Brown, www.fullspectrumottawa.com
October 6, 2005 Marooned Review
Sandy Foster has remarked 'Life is too short to be marooned'. The fact that we can all be ostracized into oblivion and segregated from relationships by the busyness of our lives is part of the main thinking behind the title track but this is an album that is everything BUT marooned. It is the consequence of being gifted vocally, musically, and creatively and Sandy Foster IS remarkably and irretrievably gifted! I'd like you to relax for a moment..and take in what I am telling you... you are about to read a review of one of the most remarkable albums ever to have been born in Canada... reading takes patience... listening takes you on a heart and soul meandering journey... in the company of Sandy Foster!
T'aint what you do opens this remarkable album and the first thing that happens is a case of shock. That semi-acoustic guitar and finger glided piano compliments Sandy's jazzy vocal to a tee and you're wondering how it is that the girl isn't a guest on just about everyone's favourite jazz presentation around the world. Move over girls... Sandy's on the airstrip about to take off on a much anticipated world tour!
When we get to the amazing songwriting epitaph that's Marooned we are treated to a rather extraordinary writing talent that could never be pushed aside. The song opens with some lovely upright bass and Sandy's vocals are complimented with an equally lovely flute that's both skillfully conceived and skillfully played. What's particularly striking about this song is the cleverness in the lyrical emphasis that Sandy delivers. You see, not many jazz singers can get away with this without being called 'great' jazz singers... and Sandy is one of the 'greats'. As if this wasn't enough of a testimony to Sandy Foster's remarkable vocal, then Play a song for you will almost certainly do the trick! The delightfully candlelit opening mood is challenged by the vocal prowess that keeps you mesmerized.. what a girl! Insatiably appetizing piano and emotion driven vocals make this magnificent song shine and I would absolutely LOVE to see these guys live... come to think of it... they're only a few hours away and so I'll get that sorted for sure!
Do I worry about you? With inspiration sprung forth on a plane trip... this song is an absolute classic of the highest magnitude ... beautiful vocals... astonishing bass playing and drum, guitar, and piano work that deserves an award for just being brilliantly executed.. it's all here in abundance. Then there's the song itself... I mean... wouldn't you love to have been responsible for writing these lyrics??? Of course you would!
Thankful Well I'm thankful that I have the pleasure of writing this review and oh dear me what a pleasure this song is! I could swear there's a hitherto unexplored part of our imagination that has wings and an undercarriage! This song took me flying all over the place and there wasn't a hint of engines or fuel... it all happens on the beautiful vibrato and sustain that Sandy Foster has acquired, developed, and so obviously mastered! Keep your eye out for those lovely piano and bass inserts... a little jazz tapestry got wove in the composition here and it's as colourful and as vibrant as any jazz tapestry you could ever hope to find!
This is the bit where the breeze of writer's anxiety comes... you see, to get into writing a review 'properly' you have to listen to the album about three times... you have to try very hard to engage the performer's world and provide a bridge to the world of the intended audience. The thing is.. three times is NOT enough... it would not be just... it would not be fair! However, on first listening.. You speak surpasses everything you ever expected to be made possible in female vocalized jazz! On third play... you are skillfully observant and it's great when you realize that your thoughts and perceptions were very much confirmed on first listening. You speak is a work of absolute class! Electrifyingly beautiful singing, and undeniably brilliant musicianship is what this track really is... it's ok.. you go on now and play it however many times you like... and you will!
Cranberry jazz opens with a nice tight intro that leads into another of Sandy's songs that makes me wish she lived next door... then I could say 'How the %^&* did you manage to sing like that?!!!". I haven't tapped my toes this much in ages! Watchout for the superb guitar solo that makes you want to rush out and buy a dead expensive Gibson semi or whatever it is that can have you make numerous attempts at learning the delightful riffs. A superb song... very New York Jazz... very Sandy Foster!
Meet me here is perhaps one of the best things that happened to me this year after pressing the play button! The magic in Sandy Foster's voice continues to enthrall and the lyrics are so well crafted and THEN Dave Babcock arrives and you almost want to dwindle into nothingness as his incredible vocal sends your sense up the wall, around the floor, and behind the radiators with sheer disbelief! The production must have been an absolute joy to work on and who knows what was going through the minds between the headphones during the mixdown!
It all falls on me has little touches of some of the greatest jazz singers in the world all in one mouth... I guess it really does all fall on Sandy Foster! Piano work on this track is magnificent... but then the band have coped with the enormity of their skills and tasks so well throughout this entire album that it leaves you in a state of complete and utter wonderment! What a band... what a track!
Subject to the whether is such a clever song with it's metaphoricalisms. I have to say it again... wouldn't you love to have been responsible for writing this song? AND wouldn't you love to have a voice like that! Careful attention should be paid here to what happens between the vocal parts and the guitar and piano parts.. it's almost like the instruments, including the vocal, were born on the same day, at the same time, to the same mother! Mention should also be made in referencing the bass and drums also.. you see any bass player will tell you that 'working out' with a drummer requires an attention to detail that takes time to master. These guys have long since passed the point of no return and, like the guitar and piano -players, have truly mastered their craft to the 'nth degree!
Quiet nights of quiet stars . Now it gets a bit sad knowing that this is the last track on the album... when the joy has unfolded to where it's at! It's a very dreamy jazz song that's performed and produced to the kind of standard you'd expect to line up for to witness at the Royal Albert Hall. Again, we have a completely professional package to unwrap when listening to this song and it's all contained in the instruments and the voice that were naturally put together to astonish the ears and the heart!
All the great Canadian jazz players and singers in this genre should take note of what exactly has been accomplished here... pure unadulterated brilliance in performance, in composition, and in production. The rest of the world needs to simply applaud and give the girl a standing ovation for a job well done!
Colin Lynch - October 06 2005
August 12, 2005 MONCTON TIMES & TRANSCRIPT - Eric Lewis
Sandy Foster (Marooned) (ïïï 1/2)
Sandy Foster’s warm, inviting jazz makes for one of the coolest listens I’ve heard in a while. Her easy-going, seemingly effortless vocals are the real treat here, but it’s backed up by some awesome swing and jazz music on tracks like “T’Ain’t What You Do”, “Marooned”, “Cranberry Jazz” and “Subject To The Whether”. Her duet with Dave Babcock on “Meet Me Here” is one of the highlights on this disc, with both singers sounding smooth and confident singing to each other. She’s not doing much of anything out of the ordinary, but it’s gentle, warm and simply fun. I love the fact that Foster included liner notes with her thoughts on each song and what they mean to her. It really puts it in perspective for you. If you’re a jazz afficianado, you’d be remiss to not check out Ms. Foster.
Eric Lewis, Life & Times Reporter Times & Transcript, Moncton, N.B.
August 5, 2005 Kelowna Capital News - Bruce Mitchell
This is Canadian jazz singer and composer Sandy Foster’s third album. Her previous release featured several original songs as well as some well chosen covers that all helped her receive several VIBE and SHAI award nominations for Best Jazz/Blues Album of The Year.
Foster has an earthy yet crystalline voice and a superb backing combo that boasts three fine economical solists for piano, flute and guitar.
Foster usually has a deep spiritual content with her personal songs where she strives to keep this jazz-pop “transparent, authentic and warm”. She finds profundities in common place events such as on You speak, and the ballad Play a Song for You.
But like Foster, I too am a total sucker for Antonio Carlos Jobim and her restive take of Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars is worth the price of admission alone.
June 29, 2005 RAY’S REVIEWS Edmonton’s Sandy Foster delivers tonnes of jazzy soul
Edmonton’s own Sandy Foster is back with her third album, once again delivering tonnes of jazzy soul and warmth to her eager audience. The independently released Marooned is a wonderful medium for Foster to express her joie de vivre as well as her loneliness and sadness. What’s so great is that she reaches both ends of the emotional spectrum with as much ease and as much conviction. She’s got great control of her friendly, soul-filled voice, which she generally keeps pretty toned down and laid back. Her choice of music is fairly eclectic, ranging from classic standards to some mighty decent originals. But each number here works beautifully with her vocal range.
I tend to prefer her more up-tempo numbers – the boppy, little ditties that her fans enjoy so much. Topping my list is the snazzy T’Ain’t What You Do, a fun, swingy little swinging bopper with a heavy bass line, courtesy of Glenn Durksen. Cranberry Jazz, another fun toe-tapper, puts piano man Matt Day in the spotlight – which he grabs right onto during an excellent twinkly break. Next comes Do I Worry About You, which starts off as a slow, quiet piano piece but then jumps into a lively, kicking song accentuated by a smokin’ guitar solo by Wes Yaciuk. And of course, there’s the attitude-filled, finger-snapper It All Falls On You, again featuring some fine piano work.
You Speak also got my attention through its breezy, fun atmosphere, created in part by some exceptional flute work by drummer Kevin Andrews. That same joyful feel (complete with flute) is also found on the title track, Marooned. It also features a nice flamenco-styled flare.
Rounding out my favourites is Quiet Night on Quiet Stars, which is also fairly breezy and which also features some mighty fine key work. This time, though, Foster’s voice is quite plaintive. Also worthy of mention is Meet Me Here, performed as a duet with the incomparable, smooth-voiced jazz master Dave Babcock, who also throws in some nifty soprano sax.
Those who enjoy jazz vocal albums should not be disappointed by this nice little gem.
Jun 11, 2005 - 08:11 AM EJAZZ NEWS – George W. Carroll
Composer & jazz singer Sandy Foster asserts her CD project right away with her array of intelligent well honed jazz originals. Sandy exhibits the ability to thrust her music at us with melodic invention. Plus, her out & out sauce of technique is both rhythmic & vocally emotional. Her fastidious vocalise lies underneath a musical surface which covers a stirring involvement with both her craft & her music. Croon on girl! There's no "Ill Wind" Here.
George W. Carroll/The Musicians' Ombudsman EJAZZNEWS
indigo rain (Apr 2009) Written to span sentiment and solemnity, this collection reflects the thinking, waiting, longing and hoping of nearly every season of blue. Sandy Foster. Seven originals, three arrangements including Connie Kaldor’s Bigger Than Anywhere Else and Hank Cochran’s Make the World Go Away feature Foster’s vocals, song writing, arranging, and instrumentals along with the gifted musicianship of Kevin Andrews, Wes Yaciuk, Rene Worst, and Tony Chamberlist.
caramelize (Mar 2007) The swirl of toffee seemed the closest parallel to life and relationships as expressed in this collection. Bronze, shiny, delicious and fragrant caramel lovingly created from timeless ingredients, this title “confectiously” describes this box of assorted sweets. Sandy Foster
spruce it up (Nov 2006) My favorite tune on the record is “Snow Wonder I Love You,” penned by Foster, I rank this one right up there with the 1949 Academy Award winning song “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”….Grab an eggnog, cuddle up with your honey and relax to this wonderful CD. When you get to the last two tracks turn off all but the Christmas tree lights turn to your sweetheart and say, “I love you.” JOE MONTAGUE
marooned (June 2005) Marooned, is comparable, both musically and vocally, to the best CDs by Diana Krall, Molly Johnson, or Holly Cole. Scott D. Brown Recorded live in studio, this album has a romance perfect for both inspiration and relaxation and garnered a 2006 GMA Covenant Award, IOMA nominations, national airplay, inclusion in Top Ten Jazz charts, and rave reviews.
orangify (Aug 2004) Warm as sunshine; this energetic assortment of 14 originals and 1 standard cuts a wide swath of styles with clear, smooth vocals, thought provoking lyrics and soul satisfying delivery. Nominated for Jazz/Blues Album of the Year (SHAI Awards 2005) and 2005 WCMA Outstanding Christian Record of the Year.
purplexed (Jan 2003) A collection of 10 originals and 2 standards ranging in style from swing to blues to ballad to Latin. Nominated for Jazz/Blues Album of the Year (VIBE Awards 2004).