Rolltop Music - Press Release
CD Title: With Love
Artist: Sarah Mail
Producer: Tim Coffman
Rolltop Music announces the release of “With Love” by Ukulele sensation Sarah Maisel.
“With Love” is Sarah’s third CD on Rolltop Records and follows the popular debut album
“Have Uke Will Travel” and the 2011 release of the classic “In The Moment” CD, but “With Love” is a project that Sarah’s fans have been asking for, a recording of just the way Sarah and her band sound live.
This recording was made during August and September 2012 at Rolltop Studio in San Diego and along the way Producer Tim Coffman invited Sarah to sing into a vintage mic, the kind that Frank Sinatra or Billie Holiday would have used. The result is Sarah’s beautiful voice is bigger than life and is a classy tribute to the swing era. Sarah’s playing is nothing short of magnificent, the chords are so beautiful there are times you forget that you are listening to a 4 string Ukulele.
Sarah is joined by Paul Tillery on Bass and you will notice, Paul knows how to swing. Duncan Moore turns in another stellar performance on drums and Gordon Freitas of Oahu plays Hawaiian Steel on two songs.
SARAH MAISEL: With Love
By Frank Kocher, February 2013 – The San Diego Troubadour
Sarah Maisel has established herself as a solid presence on the local jazz scene following the success of her 2010 debut, Have Uke Will Travel (see March 2012 San Diego Troubadour). Her unique combination of almost astonishing skill on ukulele and expressive, charming vocals is something different, crossing genres and establishing a sound completely her own. She has been busy, with two subsequent full-length CD releases, including her new one, With Love, Sarah Maisel. Fortunately for Maisel and the listener, she sticks with the same formula as on her earlier discs: a mixture of instrumentals and vocals that draws from Tin Pan Alley, other pop standards, and a couple of Hawaiian hapa-haole tunes. All are performed with an easy, breezy, swing jazz style.
Maisel and producer Tim Coffman opt for a sound that is mostly Maisel, bassist Paul Tillery, and drummer Duncan Moore arranged as a jazz trio. This is more testimony to Maisel the ukulele whiz, without overdubs she makes the tenor uke sound like a hybrid somewhere between jazz guitar and piano (the occasional keys and guitar of the debut disc are gone).
“Blue Skies” is one the American Songbook tunes that is transformed as Maisel’s descending chord patterns and lyrical solo phrasing, sounding like a good jazz guitarist playing a nylon-stringed guitar, with an eighth-fret capo. Her vocal on this one and the standard “How High the Moon” are clear and fresh, and combine with the brisk uke melodies to breathe a new life into them and other tracks. Her uke transcends its limitations, and her voice is alternately intimate and smoky, as on a captivating reading of “Autumn Leaves,” as French gives way to English over a smooth lattice of string accompaniment.
Maisel steps a bit out of the box for “City of New Orleans,” Steve Goodman’s train song that is more of a folk anthem than a jazz piece and though the version tries hard, this might be one of those songs that might not work as well as a jazzy uke tune. No worries, “Yesterday” has been covered by everybody, and here it is the first uke instrumental and a jaw-dropper that shows Maisel’s picking prowess and ability to interlace several themes simultaneously. A mandolinist or guitarist that could play this tune this well would be considered a master, here it is on a ukulele.
The two “half-white” Hawaiian songs here add steel guitar – “In Your Hawaiian Way” and “When Hilo Hattie Does the Hilo Hop” – both have a traditional island sound that is more like the ukulele the listener remembers growing up (except for the sharp solos). Maisel makes a closing statement with “In a Sentimental Mood.” This song is a uke solo and resonates with the clear, precisely phrased and complex kind of melody that comes only from the fingertips of a developing virtuoso.
With Love / Sarah Maisel
Produced by Tim Coffman
Although he’s best known as a surf-rock guitar stylist with numerous recording credits to his name, San Diego based Tim Coffman is also a wonderful music producer and he puts his pedal to the mettle in With Love, Sarah Maisel, the 2012 CD from singer Sarah Maisel.
While Coffman’s own solo albums are primarily guitar based instrumentals, as a producer he brings out the best in Maisel. In addition to her innate vocal ability, Ms. Maisel is an excellent ukulele player and backing herself on uke, she’s assisted by a fine band including steel guitarist Gordon Freitas.
For her With Love album, Sarah delves deep into the Great American songbook, sounding like a modern day Mary Ford, while carving out a new niche with sublime Hawaiian inspired Slack Key based covers of a number of classic standards by Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington, Motown, Steve Goodman, The Beatles and more.
Coffman’s production is pretty flawless, enhancing Ms. Maisel’s obvious vocal gift for seducing you with a classic cover song. www.RolltopMusic.com
With Love / Sarah Maisel 2012
CD Review by Beverly Paterson
The Queen of the Ukulele has returned to the fray with yet another captivating collection of songs! Not only does Sarah pack a wallop of wizardry on the stringed-instrument, but she also sings like an angel.
Cemented by Gordon Freitas on steel guitar, Paul Tillery on bass and Duncan Moore on drums, With Love, Sarah Maisel (Rolltop Records) conveys a full-bodied tone. Acclaimed guitarist Tim Coffman twisted the knobs on the disc, resulting in a superb production job illuminating with warmth and emotion.
Devised of cover songs, With Love, Sarah Maisel stays true to the original essence of the material, but rather than reviving such selections note for note, arrangements are often tweaked here and there. Peculiar shadows occasionally peek through the curtains, supplying the tracks with rather unconventional angles.
Standards like “In A Sentimental Mood,” “How High The Moon” and “Blue Skies” sparkle with clarity and freshness, making them appear as if they are contemporary offerings. An instrumental version of “Yesterday” stages a whole new approach to the heavily-reprised Beatles classic, while “When Hilo Hattie Does The Hilo Hop” percolates with peppy and playful rhythms.
Buzzing with electricity, a treatment of Steve Goodman’s “City Of New Orleans” adds an extra layer of depth to the initial recording, and then there’s a catchy take of the Motown marvel, “How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You,” which twinkles and twitters with style and substance.
Providing an impressive assimilation of pop, jazz, folk, country, light rock and Island sounds, With Love, Sarah Maisel obviously defies pigeonholing. But the songs, anchored by Sarah’s dazzling strumming and vibrant vocals, flow together nicely. Compulsive listening guaranteed!
E-Zine: Ukulele Player Magazine
With Love - Sarah Maisel
“Sarah Maisel has another collection of songs that are sure to please. She just keeps getting better. This is another great production from Rolltop Music.”
Sarah Maisel has another album to her credit. This one, titled "With Love, Sarah Maisel" features ten classic songs.
"Blues Skies" is a classic number written by Irving Berlin. I love the ukulele accents. Timing is critical on a number like this one and here, it's excellent. The drums are very subtle, but they provide a pretty solid foundation on this song.
"How High the Moon" written by Lewis and Hamilton was a 1940s hit. Like a lot of tunes of the period, it has been recorded with various interpretations over the years. This version has a nice "swing" feel to it. I love the drums coming into the second verse.
"Autumn Leaves (Les feuilles mortes) was written Kosma and Jacques Prévert. The English lyrics were written by Johnny Mercer. This is a nice rendition and Sarah handles the French well.
"How Sweet It Is to be Loved By You" is another classic. This swing rendition is lively and the drums help drive it a bit. I love the drums on this song. All the way through, the beat is perfect, thanks to the drums.
"City of New Orleans" was written by Steve Goodman. It is another song recorded by several artists over the years-- including Willie Nelson, John Denver, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Reed. It just sounds strange to hear Sarah sing "I'm your native son."
"Yesterday" written by Lennon and McCartney is another song that has been recorded a lot. This interpretation is an instrumental and is nicely done, but it has a different cadence than the original.
"In Your Hawaiian Way" written by Weymouth Kamakana Jr is not a "traditional Hawaiian" song in that it is not in the native language, but it has been widely recorded and there are many renditions of it on YouTube and other places on the Internet. Sarah's rendition is a good one and I really enjoyed it.
"When Hilo Hattie Does the Hilo Hop" is a fun tune. Listen carefully to the lyrics. You'll enjoy them.
"What A Little Moonlight can Do" was written by Harry Woods. This rendition is pretty upbeat. The drums kick on this tune. I like the cymbal accents. Sarah's vocals shine on this number. Nice.
"In A Sentimental Mood" is a Duke Ellington classic. This is a nice interpretation.
In Sarah's albums, you can count on at least one or two instrumentals. You can also count on smooth vocals and excellent musicianship. She just keeps getting better and her videos display a first-rate artist at work.
This is another great collection of classic tunes. If you want to relax and enjoy a mix of swing and jazz with a little Hawaiian tradition in the mix, this is it.