By Michele L. Simms-Burton | Published January 2019
Some listeners will revel in nostalgia, hearing Ann Hampton Callaway’s Jazz Goes To The Movies. Consisting of standards and songs tied to 20th-century movie classics, the care with which Callaway approaches these works makes them sound fresh and new, as if they’re being rendered for the first time. Traces of Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson and Peggy Lee sneak into her renditions, but Callaway still owns these songs. Familiar tunes like “’S Wonderful” and “This Can’t Be Love” breathe under her tutelage, sounding freshly wrought.
Callaway’s band works seamlessly with her vocals, her rich three-octave range adding layers of color, texture and depth to “Blue Skies.” Pianist Ted Rosenthal’s opening andante bars allow Callaway to inject suspense as the tempo increases. The uptempo arrangement of “As Time Goes By” divorces it from the somber timbre of the tune from 1931’s Casablanca; in Callaway’s version, a kiss is really just a kiss. Jimmy Greene’s opening saxophone gambit and solo dazzle on “This Time The Dream’s On Me.” Drummer Tim Horner’s soft touch on “The Nearness Of You” signals his ability to fall back, while still providing the rhythmic punch necessary to keep everyone in time.
“Long Ago And Far Away” from the 1944 film musical Cover Girl becomes the perfect vehicle for enjoying Callaway’s controlled and well-executed vibrato. She moves through her register without losing enunciation, the closing note making this one of the most memorable tunes on the album.
Jazz Goes To The Movies: ’S Wonderful; Let’s Face The Music And Dance; Blue Skies; The Folks Who Live On The Hill; As Time Goes By; The Way You Look Tonight; This Time The Dream’s On Me; The Nearness Of You; How Little We Know; This Can’t Be Love; Just One Of Those Things; Taking A Chance On Love; Long Ago And Far Away; From This Moment On. (54:13)
Personnel: Ann Hampton Callaway, vocals; Ted Rosenthal, piano; Martin Wind, bass; Tim Horner, drums; Jimmy Greene, saxophone.