Abbie Gardner, lead vocals; Herb Gardner, piano, vocals; Dan Levinson, clarinet, saxophone; Robbie Scott, percussion; Mike Weatherly, upright bass
There's a bright opening to Abbie Gardner's debut Jazz album with "Happy Feet"; in fact the CD remains bright throughout. Dan Levinson with his clarinet and sax gets through a load of work, and helps to lift the album with the freshness of his playing. Abbie shows some of the nuances of Billie Holiday, and with the help of Abbie's pianist and arranger Dad, Herb Gardner, they put together a lively and swinging set of mostly standards. Herb has a full and swinging sound on "Under A Blanket Of Blue", on which he conjures some great piano, and Abbie's voice is sweet, silky and expressive. "Your Mother's Son In Law" allows Dan Levinson to let fly on clarinet, and Herb joyfully thumps the ivories. Occasionally Herb and Abbie duet. "Please Don't Talk About Me" allows us to notice character against sweetness. These are straightforward arrangements, and Abbie sings them all with a smile (one imagines). There is a lightness about her that is very appealing. From a player's point of view, there must be something special when performing with your daughter. This is a jolly and light-hearted CD; enhanced even more by the splendid clarinet and sax playing of Dan Levinson, and the solid work of bassist Mike Weatherly and Robbie Scott on percussion. Thirteen standards, and the two originals by Herb Gardner, continue in the same vein. A thoroughly enjoyable CD.
by Ferdinand Maylin
Jazz Now Interactive July 2004 Vol 14 No. 3 - Table of Contents