by Keith Wolzinger, klezmershack.com, Oct 30, 2008
I first became aware of Fern Lindzon about a year ago. When I learned that she was releasing this, her first CD, I was immediately intrigued. Not really sure what to expect from her, when the CD arrived I started listening to it right away. And listened again. And again. Moments Like These is a collection of intimate duets with Lindzon on Piano/Vocals; Reg Schwager, Guitar; Don Thompson, Vibes; and George Koller, Bass. Normally, I would say that this would make for a great sounding quartet, but the idea of doing these songs as duets is both bold and inspired.
Lindzon pays tribute to some great jazz artists such as Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Thelonious Monk, and Oliver Nelson, as well as legendary singers Ella Fitzgerald and Shirley Horn. The songs are selected from a broad range of Standards, Showtunes, plus a few surprises.
Lindzon is a truly outstanding performer. She has the ability to hold the listener’s attention throughout the album. The music never gets in the way of her floating voice, but provides a perfect background for her inventive style. In addition, the outstanding musicianship of everyone is on display during the instrumental breaks and on the three non-vocal pieces. Here we find quality jazz, a nice touch, considering that instrumental tracks are a rarity on vocal albums in general.
Another aspect of Lindzon that is not immediately apparent is her innovative approach as a composer and lyricist. As she says in the liner notes, she likes writing lyrics to standard jazz tunes. She displays this talent with great aplomb on the title track, “Moments Like These/You Belong To Her,” where she sings an original vocalese as an intro to her own lyrics set to the tune of one of my all-time favorite songs, “Stolen Moments,” by Oliver Nelson. She also sets original lyrics to Wayne Shorter’s “Infant Eyes” on her version called “To See Through Infant Eyes.”
Her composing and arranging abilities are on display with the Chick Corea-inspired “Children’s Lullaby,” which serves as a wonderful prelude to her beautiful rendition of “Never Never Land,” arranged in 5/4 time that reminds me of Dave Brubeck. Another Lindzon composition is the inventive “TR7,” a 12-tone blues that is actually a very nice piece. Just don’t try to sing along, you might hurt yourself (Just kidding, Fern).
My favorite song on the album is “Re’i.” This is quite a departure from the rest of the album. Lindzon sings the song in Hebrew, which adds a touch of mysticism to the smooth lines of the melody. Just as we settle into the slow groove, we are treated to a perfectly matched Vibes solo from Don Thompson. Another song with a twist is “You Really Shouldn’t, But…”. As a tribute to Thelonious Monk it is a great Piano piece. But again, Lindzon puts her own stamp on it by using a slight Bulgar rhythm as the background. The Bulgar is a traditional Jewish dance, and gives new direction to what is otherwise a mainstream jazz piece.
The 6-page foldout booklet is nicely done, with photos; liner notes by Mark Miller, a noted jazz critic; thank yous and credits; and song descriptions. The track personnel and times appear on the back tray card.
I must say that I was very impressed with the audio quality. The vocals are clear, with just the right amount of reverb; the Piano, Guitar, and Bass are clear and distinct; and the Vibes have great presence. Vibes can be troublesome to record properly, but I give a lot of credit to the audio team of Chad Irschick and Michael Haas for the outstanding results the have achieved.
Moments Like These is a welcome introduction to the artistry of Fern Lindzon. And especially for those not familiar with her work, have a listen, immerse yourself in the music, and seize the moments that this album offers. Moments like these don’t occur very often.