March 30, 2015

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Chicago Jazz Magazine

March 30, 2015

 

Anne Burnell - Summer Days and Dreamy Nights

Anne Burnell – Vocals
Henry Johnson – Guitar
Mark Burnell – Piano
Mike Logan – Keyboards, piano
Corey Wilkes – Trumpet
Eric Schneider – Saxophone
Joshua Ramos – Bass
Charles Heath III – Drums



A marvelously misty ambiance permeates vocalist Anne Burnell’s third release, the unabashedly romantic, Summer Days and Dreamy Nights. Burnell interprets 13 pop-oriented tunes and standards with her signature graceful charm as her fluid silken voice navigates the various scales with remarkable agility and delightful phrasing.

Her unadorned artistry is on full display on the dramatic “A Time For Love.” Accompanied only by producer and arranger Henry Johnson’s shimmering resonant guitar lines Burnell’s evocative enunciation of lyrics drips with heady poetry.

Even as lush orchestral sounds envelope and buoy her singing, as on “Dreamsville,” her expressive intonation stands out with its warm, rich glow. Pianist Mike Logan’s evocative piano chords and Johnson’s undulating strings handsomely frame Burnell’s passionate articulation.

Burnell, who is a deft at switching styles, showcases her versatility on a number of slightly edgier tracks. She brings a suave sensuality and a bold swagger to the cabaret-ish “Don’t Ever Leave Me.” Elsewhere, on the swinging “The Best Things in Life Are Free,” she joins the frontline with hard-edged trumpeter Corey Wilkes and erudite saxophonist Eric Schneider with surprising facility. The superlative rhythm duo of drummer Charles Heath III and bassist Joshua Ramos rumbles in the background, occasionally breaking through with thrilling flourishes. 

On the sunny Latin ballad “Moment to Moment” Burnell’s effervescent song floats over Logan’s crystalline phrases. Meanwhile on the breezy Bossa “I Got Los In His Arms” her vocalizing shimmies to her husband Mark Burnell’s cascading notes and Johnson’s silvery reverberations. 

This engaging album aptly closes with the exuberant “Goin’ Out of My Head.” Her supple, honeyed vocals flow along the undulating instrumental refrains of the band with splendid, smooth sophistication. Burnell maintains her singularity by avoiding being pigeonholed. She proves herself, once more, adept at a variety of genres to all of which she brings a jazz musician sensibility.

By: Hrayr Attarian  

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