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The Tender Trap

Janis Siegel

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Album Review

The powerhouse Manhattan Transfer vocalist doesn't want us to think this is just another album of brilliantly arranged standards sung to perfection. So on the album's cover she casts herself as something of an actress with a cartoon rendering of her in an evening gown, labeling this "The Tender Trap by Janis Siegel" — with the tag line "Escape Is the Last Thing on Your Mind." No need for all the fancy packaging, though. Just hearing one of pop and jazz's most remarkable singers strut renditions arranged by her longtime partner and pianist, Fred Hersch, is enticing enough. Her liner notes humorously chronicle her choice of tunes, which ranges from an elegant trio reading of "That Old Black Magic" (done in 5/4) to a simmering and swaying twist on the title track. Her urgent voice is also perfectly suited for a bluesy rendition of "I Just Want to Make Love to You," which features the two-pronged instrumental attack of David Tronzo's slide guitar and Hank Crawford's alto sax). The great thing about Siegel is how she moves so effortlessly from that sort of barn-burning torchiness to the floating, ethereal vibe of "How Deep Is the Ocean?" She also fashions "How Long Has This Been Going On" as a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, and performs a never before recorded lyric to Billy Strayhorn's familiar "Lotus Blossom" called "All Roads Lead Back to You."

Biography

Born: July 23, 1952 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Vocalist Janis Siegel had been a member of the the Manhattan Transfer since 1972, she has also built a successful solo career since 1982. Siegel's first album as a leader, Experiment in White established her solo credentials, while the follow-up, At Home, earned a Grammy nomination in 1987 for Best Female Jazz Vocal. Siegel began the first of several collaborations with pianist/composer Fred Hersch on 1989's Short Stories. The duo relied less on standards and concentrated instead on modern pop songs...
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The Tender Trap, Janis Siegel
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