West Coast jazz vocalist Judy Wexler not only knows her way around a bop tune, fluidly negotiating angular intervals and racing tempos, she knows how to personalize a pop tune, no matter how familiar or faded.
Wexler is a breath of fresh air, a clear, clean voice that imbues life into every song she enters. Wexler has a wealth of gifts, which elegantly unfold over the course of Dreams & Shadows. Yet she never overplays her assets; she is always sensitive to what each song needs and this, combined with her sincere connection to the lyrics, makes Wexler an impressive talent.
Here’s a thrush that knows how to sing and swing like a throwback to the golden age of broads. Saucy, sexy with great tone and style, she’s selling the steak and not just the sizzle. A jazz vocalist for this or any season, Wexler hits it on some intuitive, innate level that just makes you a fan right out of the box. Hot stuff throughout.
Who was it that once said ‘You’ll know it when you hear it?’ Well, there are those who would strive to be called jazz singers and others who actually may claim the title. Judy Wexler fits in the latter category. And you’ll know it when you hear it. Among those qualities which provide the answer: intonation, telling the story of the lyric, phrasing, choice of material, knowing how much improvisation is perfect, hiring hip accompanists, and more. And Judy Wexler is the complete package… she’s the real deal … a jazz singer!
…(Wexler) achieves the perfect balance of singer and musicians. Her tonality and delivery are impeccable, especially considering the choice of songs. Often jazz vocalists rely on well-known and worn material that is easy to mold. Wexler differs, instead showing with ingenious arrangements and some of Los Angeles’s greatest players, an uncanny ability to create outstanding jazz.
Dreams & Shadows is Wexler’s baby all the way, one that can claim turf on the small landscape of genuinely great modern jazz vocalist recordings… This CD puts Wexler solidly among the ranks of the really good singers like Kate McGarry and Tierney Sutton. On Dreams & Shadows she sounds exceedingly relaxed and comfortable throughout, and exhibits just enough fearlessness, daring and control that everything here just clicks.
Wexler has a distinctive, voice full of shadings, and simply knows how to dig into a song and find its essence. Speaking of songs, Wexler has chosen an interesting and eclectic program… This is an impressive collection by a singer who is sure to attract lots of attention with quality efforts like this.