Close your eyes and you could be at the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York.
Australia’s own Janet Seidel recently turned the big six-o and is going stronger than ever, having spent 41 years as a performer.
Her album, The Art of Lounge is a lovely compilation of songs that she and her band, which includes her brother, David Seidel on bass, have performed at the many residencies they have had at high-end hotel lounges and cocktail bars in Sydney and overseas.
This includes Sydney’s Sheraton Wentworth Hotel, Manly Pacific Hotel, Darling Harbour Park Royal, Four Seasons, Shangri-La, Boulevard Hotel, Adelaide Hilton and Terrace Hotel Adelaide.
Volume One has a romantic and sulky feel while Volume Two is more upbeat and makes you want to get up and dance.
Janet Seidel grew up listening and studying Jobin and Sergio Mendes and wonderful vocalist Lani Hall from Brazil 66, and she pays homage to this influence in her wonderful laid-back rendition of To Say Goodbye on Volume One.
A prominent walking bass by David Seidel helps give this song a nice groove.
Mas Que Nada (but that [is] nothing) has been one of Seidel’s favourites since she heard Brazil 66’s rendition years ago, and here she gives it a samba feel, which is just persuasive enough to make you want to get up and dance. The soulful voice of David McLeod creates a lovely mood.
Seidel’s take on Gershwin classic, I’ve Got A Crush On You is languid and relaxed.
Her gentle voice is sultry and suggestive, and is beautifully accompanied by Kevin Hunt on an electronic keyboard.
Hunt also features in the duet, Fools Rush In, where the piano ebbs and flows beautifully with Seidel’s sensitive phrasing.
A big band intro sets the tone for a hypnotic Latin treatment of I Got Lost In His Arms by Irving Berlin, which conjures old world glamorous images of women with 50’s beehive hairdos dancing arm in arm with gents in tuxedos.
Gee Baby was made famous by the great Ella Fitzgerald and Louise Armstrong and Seidel brings a smokey jazz club feel to it by, including an electronic Hammond organ played by Col Nolan.
The song, ‘Black is the Colour‘ is a folk song based in the Appalachian tradition and is by John Jacob Niles. There’s many different arrangements and versions, but the melody and the poem are by John Jacob Niles.
A lovely string accompaniment sounds like a rippling stream in the countryside, and creates a lovely cushion for the words, black is the colour of my true love’s hair…’
The wistful and lonely old cornet played by Tom Baker in Love for Sale was only possible after the band decided this song about love after dark needed its lonely call…so they waited in the studio until midnight for Tom Baker to come in and record it with them.
The result is a beautifully haunting song about the dark side of love of the night.
Love for sale, appetizing young love for sale
Love that’s fresh and still unspoiled
Love that’s only slightly soiled, love for sale
Who will buy?
Who would like to sample my supply?
Who’s prepared to pay the price, for a trip to paradise?
Love for sale
Let the poets pipe of love in their childish way
I know every type of love better far than they
If you want the thrill of love, I’ve been through the mill of love
Old love, new love every love but true love
Put your dance shoes on before you listen to Volume Two!
The great rhythm section helps set a lively pace for the first few tracks, Foinciana, Lonesome Road and Aqua de Beber.
American Jazz musician and songwriter John Pizzarelli’s Oh How My Heart Beats For You is a standout here for its exhilarating pace, with Chuck Morgan on guitar and David Seidel on bass and John Morrison on drums.
Some great covers features on the disc, including You Belong To Me, which features some lovely muted trumpet solos and Sentimental Journey, which is beautifully nostalgic.
Can’t We Talk It Over is a standout here, for it’s bouncy Ella Fitzgerald style. Fitzgerald was famous for her slightly girlish sounding voice, and Janet Seidel captures this perfectly.
These albums make wonderful relaxing and entertaining listening.
Meldi Arkinstall, CD-Music Reviews, The Culture Concept Circle, 2015
Janet Seidel’s The Art of Lounge is available from iTunes or from her