Jane Irving – Don’t Quit Now
With this set, I sat back with a glass of Balvenie single malt Scotch whisky & an Oliva Maduro cigar. I had to get the full effect of this young chanteuse Jane Irving whose music put me directly in a piano bar atmosphere in an intimate setting. While it isn’t dramatic, never intense – it’s indeed genuinely personal & she comes across with musical integrity.
I hear a tinge of Anita O’Day in her styling. Ms. Irving (vocals) while being an original will tailor an approach to suggest giants before her as she performs with the same ease, accuracy & smooth showmanship that came before her. “Let the Flower Grow,” is extremely mature vocalizing with a penetrating stately upright bass solo (Kevin Hailey). A wonderful composition.
Part of Jane Irving’s attraction is her fleecy pensive class that each song rendition offers. The 11-cut Don’t Quit Now (Drops March 31–Independent) provides effortless songs. There’s a sublime cool about her that follows like the cigarette smoke of a passing socialite back in the noir streets of NYC’s legendary 52nd St. back in the day. Her tonality has authority & though presently she shares space with Diana Krall, I find Ms. Irving closer to the deviant speakeasy circuitry as opposed to the showbiz jazz. Her inflection on certain words & phrasing seems cultivated in the environment of bootleggers, strippers & jazzmen with sly grins & street smarts. She has the reinforced ebullience of a bygone era.
Many tunes are filled with nostalgia with a pinch of modern enthusiasm & skill. Sydney, Australia born & about as far from NYC jazz as you could get Ms. Irving ironically makes her home of 11 years in NYC & she wears it like a warm coat. Her cover of “A Night In Tunisia,” has a jazz-bacon sizzle. Support comes from Josh Richman (piano/arranger), Kayvon Gordon (drums ) & Hailey (bass).
The slightly humorous lyric show tune of “Someone’s Been Sending Me Flowers,” is mindful of Madeleine Peyroux. Many female jazz singers have good voices but the trick to a jazz ideal is feeling. Billie Holiday didn’t have a pristine voice like Ella Fitzgerald or Lena Horne, but she had authenticity & feeling. In “Alice In Wonderland,” Jane combines her jazz with the showmanship of Judy Garland & lets out the showboat slack by allowing her voice to add color then drifts easily on the waves of piano notes with an instinctive improvisatory touch.
She’s inherited the jazz spirit & could stand to record some sassier tunes ala Julie London & Peggy Lee. If she should choose to spread out musically, show tunes would be a good gig. She has theatrical vocal tenacity. Her music is a romance emporium.
Highlights – “Baby Don’t You Quit Now,” “Spring Song,” “Let the Flower Grow,” “Love Dance,” “A Night In Tunisia,” “Someone’s Been Sending Me Flowers” & “Alice In Wonderland.”
Color image courtesy of Ms. Irving’s website & music samples are there too. CD @ iTunes + http://www.janeirving.com