Not new to the music scene, Judith Owen has movie tracks and
previous CDs to her credit. But on this
CD, Ms. Owen’s breaks out the jazz with some kicky renditions of some classics,
original works and sultry interpretations of classic rock pieces with help from
the likes of Tom Scott, Cassandra Wilson and Keb Mo. This is Hot Jazz, cool to the touch and
strong like a good shot of fine aged scotch.
Ms. Owen’s voice has all the classic elements of a night
club singer crooning her way into your presence; strong, sexy, smoky and very
enjoyable. The phrasing reminds you
sometimes of Joni Mitchell, but the style is all hers. As she takes you through the various jazz
pieces or her interpretation of some very familiar rock songs, her voice
carries a torch, or expresses the emotion of a woman who loves jazz and knows
how to make it come across with the impact of a velvet covered train wreck.
As I wandered through the tracks, each one was a surprise,
each one eloquent in the approach and style and none of them were a
disappointment. Her voice has a range
that could cover songs like the classic Police song
“Walking on the Moon” or run up and
down the scales as in “Famous Friends”.
Joni Mitchell’s influences are evident in the track “Train
Out of Hollywood” which features Keb’ Mo’ and this is one of the most
outstanding tracks on the CD. A very
dynamic composition with Ms. Owens making it kick up and demand attention.
I liked her sultry interpretation of “Smoke on the Water”, a
Deep Purple tune that goes from rock to jazz and never falters. Ms. Owens interpretation is exceptional, and
you will be surprised at the end result.
“These Foolish Things” is a classic, made more so by the
smooth vocals Ms. Owen lends to this piece, as well as the emotional
expressions in her voice.
Emotion is key here.
Not only does Ms. Owen sing, or phrase, but she injects emotional
expressions that give each piece impact and sometimes a ripping at the heart
strings. This is especially noticeable
on tracks like
“Down” and “Emily”.
“Emily” is another stand out track, with kicking vocals and melody.
While there are some tracks with full orchestra, piano is
her companion in much of this music, and it allows her voice to come on strong,
or it softens so she can emphasize the phrasing. “Famous Friends” is an excellent example,
working the piano then breaking into vocal backups while still allowing Ms.
Owens voice to shine.
“Sky High” with Tom Scott is just the right touch of jazz
with the right feeling and expression of vocals. Probably my choice for another “outstanding
track” on this work.
“Bridges” is a Latin jazz piece that enables Ms. Owen to
show another side and expressiveness to her vocals. Just the right amount of beat to pick up the
pace, but still the expression and smoothness to her voice that makes this
“Enough” features a duet with Cassandra Wilson, and this
piece is smokin’! Two female jazz
singers taking a tune and making it a knockout!
Smooth, hot and just what the doctor ordered to cure your blues. Another outstanding track on this collection.
The final track of “Night and Day” with Richard Thompson on
guitar is a classic. All Ms. Owen needs
is a guitar, but the addition of a Latin beat and orchestra makes this a
closing track to remember and leave you wanting more.
There is a bonus track included, from the film “P.S.” called
“Dreaming”. It keeps within the jazz
genre, and is a lovely composition, again calling upon Ms. Owen to implant her
emotion filled vocals into some heady lyrics and misty music. A nice addition to this CD and nicely done by
If you love jazz female vocalists, as I do, Judith Owen is
sure to please. If you like torch songs
or new interpretations of old material, this CD is going to delight you. This lady has talent, a real show stopper,
and she is not to be missed. mafoster
by M.A. Foster