Scanning the Countryside: Country—and All That Jazz – Barry Mazor


...Countrypolitan Duets CD from the skilled, smart, clean Nashville jazz vocalist Anna Wilson and a few of her “friends,” who happen to include Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts and Billy Dean, as well as such veteran country hands as the previously-mentioned Mr. Price, steel guitar great Lloyd Green, Kenny Rogers, and the inimitable Connie Smith. These are smooth, fluid, unmistakably jazz-based takes, sometimes with a full, hot horn section, alternately stinging and moody guitar, pace-setting piano, and choral group back-up, on country standards from “You Don’t Know Me” and “Walkin’ After Midnight” to “Cherokee Maiden” and “For the Good Times.”

Anna Wilson & Connie SmithI promise you that Connie and Anna’s swinging turn on Ms. Smith’s 1972 hit “Just For What I Am” will grab you, take you to school on what the jazz touch can bring to a country tune and sentiment, and remind you all over again what an extraordinary on-point, vocalist Ms. Smith has always been, with immaculate diction and control that transcends genre. (For all of her predilection for traditional country, Connie’s also expressed her admiration for such singers as Sarah Vaughan and Nancy Wilson.)

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