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Reviews of Julie – The Julie Lyon Quintet (UR9957)

Julie – The Julie Lyon Quintet

By: Mark S. Tucker,

“Perhaps the most interesting element in this recording is the ‘live in studio’ nature lending a great deal of atmosphere and beatnik cafe society vibe to the affair. Well, actually, I’m assuming it was thus live ’cause it sure as hell sounds it—if not, if there are overdubs and such, then Tom Tedesco possesses some supernatural talents as an engineer. Singer Julie Lyon exhibits a large element of the happy-go-lucky in her swinging recitations, perhaps most vividly shown in her take on Dindi, about the snappiest version I’ve heard yet in a song that’s been undergoing quite a renaissance in revisitations recently. Then there are the laid back, casual, way hip quotations from the quartet backing her, sounding as though just returned from a break in the back alley where the subject of ‘discussion’ was muggles, Jack Daniels, and maybe a nip or two of Romilar.

I mean, everything here is so strongly reminiscent of one of those way cool Shag (Josh Agle) paintings that I practically hear the painter’s vivid mono- and multi-chromatics and urbane exotica in the CD. Then come all the off-the-cuff incidentals the band adds in—catch especially Matt Levelle’s throaty bass clarinet fog in Every Time We Say Goodbye, so husky it’s almost aromatic—alongside Lyon’s friendly counter-culture intonations, a college girl matriculating in Hip 101. Bobby Brennan has the band nailed in with his solid bass work, and Tom Cabrera’s drumming evokes mental images of Maynard G. Krebs standing by, fingers snapping, grin wreathing Fu Manchu’ed face, while Jack DeSalvo’s guitar is a mercurial presence, dashing in for a doo-wop quotation, then sliding back out again.

Levelle, though is oft striking, as present and in the pocket as Lyon, he blazing (as in the trumpet work in Too Damn Hot) while she smile-sings seductively, caught between wanting to gambol in the sun, grab that martini on the sidebar, and/or wink at the guy who just strolled in, tan, lean, and mysterious. All or Nothing at All undergoes a modern art treatment, pointillistic and fragmentary, Lyon holding everything together while the guys get jagged and rambly. Then she clarifies and espanola-izes Tom Waits bizarre Temptation, turning it from a near-inchoate schizophrenic blues into something the Asylum Street Spankers would’ve produced. And if I pen any more paeans here, I’m going to have to check into Keroauc Rehab and have my typewriter re-tuned, so why not just glom the CD and just dig what’s goin’ down, gator.”

Edited by: David N. Pyles

By: Jonathan Shade,

“Have you ever had one of those moments where the stars align and everything seems to just be “right” with the world? Well, The Julie Lyon Quintet’s album, Julie, is the musical equivalent of this phenomenon, except the “stars” happen to be musicians. Julie Lyon has struck gold by assembling a top notch group of four instrumentalists for her debut Quintet recording, and we should be thanking those stars for it. The five wunderkinds in this group are Ms. Lyon herself on vocals, Tom Cabrera (drums and percussion), Matt Lavelle (trumpet and alto clarinet), Jack DeSalvo (guitars and mandola), and Bobby Brennan (double bass).

She has also chosen some great material to cover on her new album which ranges from old standards (Love For Sale, Blackbird), to newer and more unfamiliar works (Dindi, Too Damn hot – not to be confused with Porter’s Too Darn Hot). No matter what the song being played, the whole album has an absolute authenticity and upon first listen, I felt like I was (or at least wanted to be) in an underground smoke filled jazz club at two am, sucking in the energy that the quintet is giving out.

Each musician lends his superb talents to this recording, playing some really nice solos here, notably Jack DeSalvo’s guitar and Tom Cabrera’s drums on “Comes Love” as well as Matt Lavelle’s dexterously played trumpet and Bobby Brennan’s bouncy double bass on “Too Damn Hot”. After the gentlemen’s wonderful solo playing, Ms. Lyon’s steadfast and more than able voice always comes in again to bring together the whole effort, elevating each song leaving the listener in a type of “Jazz Nirvana”

Ms. Lyon shows that the she knows exactly what she is doing here and executes all of her songs exquisitely. She’s the real deal in her element here with a voice that is like a nice chianti – Smooth, subtle, complex, and a little playful. When she is singing, what you hear is not only the lyrics, but a visceral love of singing that shines through her instrument, very refreshing and appealing.

Standouts on this album include a rapturously sleepy “Everytime We Say Goodbye” featuring a great guitar solo, a really nice slow build of instruments on “All Or Nothing At All” that starts with ominous sounding drums, with the bass being added, followed by the guitar, and ending with the horns, all cooperating to create a great track here where everybody works great off each other and shines together, Ms. Lyon’s sultry and velvet vocals on “Comes Love” and a version of “Blackbird” unlike any other that I’ve heard that I thoroughly enjoyed.

From instruments to vocals, the listener is taken on a ride from one delight to the next on this great sounding album. Ending with Tom Wait’s “Tempation”, which is a delightful version of a great song, Ms. Lyon’s final words on this album are “I can’t resist”. My feelings exactly.”

By: Chris Spector,

“It’s interesting to see that the new generation of jazz divas can draw water from the same well but still manage to spike the drink with a special sauce of their own that gives them some distinctive real estate to plant a flag on. Certainly a classic feeling thrush, Lyon is sassy and saucy seemingly taking Birdland to the tea pad after hours with the jam going in full force. Same church, different pew—this one’s filled with the bad kids hanging out in the back. Fun stuff.”

By: Leonid Auskern,

“At the time of this writing, from the author‘s window, the is view is of wet snow mixed with rain. In such nasty weather the debut album of the Julie Lyon Quintet is the best cure for the blues. Anyway, I would warm it up with mugs of anything hot or glasses with anything firewater. Julie will give you almost an hour of warm, sincere and very cozy jazz. This American vocalist and her partners do not seek to create some bold experiments, avant-garde delights or to display the power of the voice. The voice of Julie Lyon is not about free rein sound but rather depth of experience and the aura of the truth of jazz will not leave you from the first track to the last.

The program of the Julie album is songs from different times and different atmospheres. There are classic jazz standards, such as Bye Bye Blackbird or two evergreens, Cole Porter‘s Love For Sale and Every Time We Say Goodbye, a charming example of Brazilian jazz – Dindi by Jobim, and next – Strollin ‘ by Horace Silver, Too Damn Hot by Dr. Lonnie Smith with lyrics by Julie Lyon and the finale, Tom Wait’s Temptation. For each song, starting only from the text (without using, for example, scat) , Julie Lyon is able to create her own, special atmosphere. Personally, I feel especially close to the fun, even playful mood prevailing in Dindi, the pulsating swing of Too Damn Hot and the brilliant interpretation of Temptation.

All the tracks are arranged so that you can really listen to the quintet and not just a singer with an accompanying ensemble. Virtually every one of instrumentalists has ample opportunity to demonstrate their skills. I emphasize here Matt Lavelle’s solo trumpet in Bye Bye Blackbird and Temptation, his alto clarinet in Dindi, the artful guitar of Jack DeSalvo in Comes Love and his duet with bassist Bobby Brennan in Born To Be Blue, as well as Tom Cabrera’s opening drum solo in All Or Nothing At All.

According to the press release, the album Julie will go on sale in January 2015, although the cover indicates it was recorded in Paramus, New Jersey in 2013. I do not know what caused such a substantial gap between the two dates, but this is the case when you want to say, better late than never.”

By: Czékus Mihály,
“For those who like hip, catchy melodies, there’s a lot of unforgettable moments in store on New York jazz singer Julie Lyon’s new album, which is Julie’s latest release, but not her only one.

The singer’s fans had to wait a long time for this disc, as Lyon’s previous album, Live Between Now And Then appeared in 2007. But now experiencing the fresh material, we can say that the wait was well worth it, because the repertoire is better and more interesting compositions can be found here. You can hear a great example of swing on Dr. Lonnie Smith’s “Too Damn Hot” with lyrics by Julie Lyon.  Just like the aforementioned song, There are meaningful thrills with “Every Time We Say Goodbye” as well as with Tom Wait’s “Temptation” with its “Parisian cafe” flavor.

Thanks to the great singer’s voice and the excellent team of studied musicians you can almost feel the hot, swinging atmosphere of a real jazz club.”

By: Jeff Simon,

“Julie Lyon Quintet, “Julie” (Unseen Rain). Julie Lyon is a jazz singer originally from Orlando who now lives in New York. Why do so few jazz discs ever give you this basic information, you know? I am tired of having to Google and find out. She is joined by a small combo here for 10 standards. I like how she includes “Dindi,” with its meandering, female lyrics (“I don’t know, I don’t know …”). Lyon also does a cute job with “Comes Love.” And there’s a Tom Waits song, “Temptation.” It doesn’t work out too well – the accompaniment, in particular, runs off the rails – but it’s always nice to have a Tom Waits song anyway. The real reason this disc caught my attention, though, was that “Too Damn Hot” is not the standard by Cole Porter – that’s “Too Darn Hot,” come to think of it – but a blues by Lackawanna native Dr. Lonnie Smith. Lyon liked it enough to put words to it. “What else can I do to cool this heat? Cupid’s arrows have been shot/Like the noonday sun, your kisses/Are just too damn hot.”

By: Bruce Crowther,

“This is another debut album, this time bringing to wide attention singer Julie Lyon who leads her New York Quartet through a selection of songs, mostly familiar, that display her rhythmic ease and intelligent interpretations. Among the songs performed here are Love For Sale, Dr Lonnie Smith’s Too Damn Hot, for which Julie has provided lyrics, Bye Bye BlackbirdStrollin’Dindi anComes Love. Julie is ably backed by her quartet: Matt Lavelle, trumpet, Jack DeSalvo, guitar, Bobby Brennan, bass, and Tom Cabrera, drums.
 The songs are performed in a manner that melds contemporary expectations with the older traditions from which jazz came. Julie’s accompanists provide a suitable backdrop for her and there are some well-taken solo moments from Matt Lavelle both on trumpet and on a breathily played alto clarinet. Most notable among the instrumental soloists is Jack DeSalvo who plays guitar and mandola with inventive flair. The set is rhythmically underpinned by Brennan and Cabrera, the latter providing many ear-catching moments, such as his imaginative introduction to 
All Or Nothing At All.”

By: George W. Harris,

“Vocalist Julie Lyon has a voice that recalls Blossom Dearie, and also benefits from an air tight band, similar in makeup with Tom Cabrera/dr, Jack DeSalvo/g and Bobby Brennan/b but with the added attraction of trumpeter/clarinetist Mat LaVelle, who adds some nice horn sounds on the cheerful “Strollin’” and alto clarinet on the glistening “Dindi.” The band has a gentle stride going one step at a time on “Every Time We Say Goodbye” and while her voice sounds a bit distant on “Bye Bye Blackbird” and during the loosey goosey “Born to Be Blue,” the symbiosis of the band carries her over the River Jordan into the Promised Land.”


By: D. Oscar Groomes,

“Singer Julie Lyon tees up ten classic jazz and pop songs. “Dindi”, “Too Damn Hot” and “Comes Love” are a few. She has the luxury of a decent band alongside her with drummer Tom Cabrera, guitarist Jack DeSalvo, Matt Lavelle playing trumpet and clarinet and bassist Bobby Brennan. Together the quintet is palatable.”

By: Jack Goodstein,

“Vocalist Julie Lyon debuted her Julie Lyon Quintet in late 2013 with Juliebut Unseen Rain put it out again this past January. It is a swinging 10-tune collection culled mostly from the standard repertoire – songs like“Love for Sale,” “Bye Bye Blackbird,” “All or Nothing at All,” and “Comes Love.” Tom Cabrera (her husband) is on drums and Bobby Brennan on double bass. Trumpeter and alto clarinetist Matt Lavelle and guitarist Jack DeSalvo complete the ensemble.”

By: Vittorio Lo Conte,

“The debut of Julie Lyon could not be better, the disc is managed and the standards that are projected are shown with her beautiful voice. She submits you to a treat. Julie is an original nonconformist with the band and so leads them to a point where the jazz of the past must agree with the present. The atmosphere of night clubs are in full swing, but also outside the conventions of the genre. Guitarist Jack DeSalvo stands out for his angular harmonies played with his instrument, a fine example is the end of Born to be Blue. Bobby Brennan is on bass and drums are all Tom Cabrera. To accompany the voice of Julie is Matt Lavelle on trumpet, but on Dindi, one of the standards most performed of late, is the clarinet with a high squeaky sound that confirms the originality. Here the bossa nova acquires a special dimension, far from the interpretations of the mold easy listening. The general impression is that Lyon has found the perfect band with the musical material to perform, and this of course is also in the best interest of the listeners. The famous Love for Sale by Cole Porter, dating back to 1930, is in the form, modern and with a precious intervention on guitar, as well as Bye Bye Blackbird by Ray Henderson, the drafting of which dates back to 1926. There is a great version of Every Time We Say Goodbye, another song written by Cole Porter. There are also more modern compositions, as the final Temptation by Tom Waits, again a completely different version from the original, introduced by a mandolin of Jack DeSalvo and the percussion of Tom Cabrera. Brilliant, to put on a par with what the great Waits has given us: even without a hoarse voice is a great song. Julie Lyon could not put out a better debut, the band and the songs choices put together creates an album that’s not easily forgotten.”

By: Leonid Auskern,

“At the time of this writing, from the author‘s windowthe view is of wet snow mixed withrain. In such nasty weather the debut albumof the Julie Lyon Quintet is the best cure for the bluesAnyway, I would warm it up with mugs of anything hot or glasses with anything firewaterJulie will give you almost an hour of warm, sincere and very cozy jazz.This American vocalist and her partners do not seek to create some bold experimentsavant-garde delights or to display the powerof the voice. The voice of Julie Lyon is notabout free rein sound but rather depth of experience and the aura of the truth of jazzwill not leave you from the first track to the last.

The program of the Julie album is songs from different times and different atmospheresThere are classic jazz standards, such as Bye Bye Blackbird or twoevergreensCole Porter‘s Love For Sale and Every Time We Say Goodbye, a charmingexample of Brazilian jazz – Dindi by Jobim, and next – Strollin ‘ by Horace Silver, Too Damn Hot by Dr. Lonnie Smith with lyrics by Julie Lyon and the finale, Tom Wait’s TemptationFor each song, starting only from the text (without using, for example, scat) , Julie Lyon is able to create her own, special atmospherePersonally, I feel especially close to the funeven playful mood prevailing in Dindi, the pulsating swing of Too Damn Hot and the brilliant interpretation of Temptation.

All the tracks are arranged so that you can really listen to the quintet and not just a singer with an accompanying ensemble. Virtually every one of instrumentalists hasample opportunity to demonstrate their skills. I emphasize here Matt Lavelle’s solotrumpet in Bye Bye Blackbird and Temptation, his alto clarinet in Dindi, the artful guitar of Jack DeSalvo on Comes Love and his duet with bassist Bobby Brennan in Born To Be Blue,as well as Tom Cabrera’s opening drum solo in All Or Nothing At All.

According to the press release, the album Julie will go on sale in January 2015, althoughthe cover indicates it was recorded in Paramus, New Jersey in 2013. I do not know what caused such a substantial gap between the two dates, but this is the case when you want to say, better late than never.”