October 2005

Carol Welsman
October 15, 2005Hugh's RoomToronto
Jazzing up Country with Carol
by Stanley Fefferman
Carol Welsman flew in from L.A. to give the 200 plus crowd of fans at Hugh’s Room in Toronto a preview of her newest CD soon to be titled and released. Well known for her soft-voiced, swinging but smooth approach to jazz standards, Carol has been advised to go country by no less a personage than Pierre Cossette, the founder and producer of the Grammy Awards, who will be producing her album on his new label, Ludlow Records.

Carol’s idea of country is both classic and eccentric. Her concert included Hank Williams’ “Hey Good Looking”, Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man”, and Fred Neil’s 1969 hit from Midnight Cowboy, “Everybody’s Talking at Me”. Carol went from classic to eccentric by adopting into her ‘country’ repertoire Lesley Gore’s 1963 hit “It’s My Party, I’ll Cry if I Want To”. Leading her band from the piano, Carol gave this tune a kind of swinging bluesy treatment with an outstanding beat, sang great scat and tweaked the mood of the room up till the customers were smiling, bassist Kieran Overs beamed, David Direnzo on drums was pulling crazy faces, and David Occipinti ran some mad riffs up the neck of his guitar. Carol herself sang higher and louder than usual then brought the number down on a silent space.

Taking advantage of the calmed mood, she introduced a solo, accompanying herself on piano through a recitative of Karla Bonoff’s “Daddy’s Little Girl”. The band joined her for the 40’s standard, “Slow Boat to China” by Kyser and Loesser that got people singing along softly with her till she took it away into scat, jazzy but still smooth compared to the benchmark version by Dee Dee Bridgewater. Cole Porter’s “Just One of Those Things” arranged as a ‘brazilliana’, with some great solos by her sidemen, marked the point at which the band started to go wild, moved into the territory of spontaneous jazz.

On the final number, “Too Close For Comfort”, which will not be on the CD, we got a free ride, and Carol gave the band a lot of solo time that they used to push her into full tilt jazz singing.

A very fun evening, and a recording to look out for.

We welcome your comments and feedback
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Stanley Fefferman
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The Live Music Report

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