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Album Review

Connie Evingson isn't the first person to provide a vocal jazz tribute to the Beatles; over the years, everyone from Sarah Vaughan to Czech singer Peter Lipa has interpreted the John Lennon/Paul McCartney songbook. But Let It Be Jazz, the Minneapolis resident's fifth album, is among the more creatively successful — and it may very well be the most intriguing thing in her catalog (at least as of 2003). In the past, Evingson has paid tribute to Peggy Lee — a logical choice for a jazz vocalist — and on this 2003 release, she makes 13 Beatles classics sound equally logical in a jazz setting. Evingson doesn't get into anything by George Harrison or Ringo Starr on Let It Be Jazz; she embraces Lennon/McCartney compositions exclusively, and quite a few pleasant surprises occur — surprises that range from a reference to Miles Davis' "All Blues" on "Blackbird" to a Brazilian-minded interpretation of "From Me to You." Meanwhile, "Can't Buy Me Love" and "Got to Get You into My Life" are two examples of songs that Evingson takes out of British Invasion rock/power pop and places in a jazz-noir setting. And thankfully, she is doing exactly the sort of thing jazz singers are supposed to do — that is, putting her own individualistic spin on something that is familiar (or perhaps not so familiar; Evingson also interprets some gems that weren't major hit singles for the Beatles — gems you might not be familiar with if you haven't acquired all of their albums). Let It Be Jazz is not only a demonstration of Evingson's skills as a jazz improviser; it also shows how durable the Fab Four's material continued to be 33 years after their breakup.

Biography

Born: 1962 in Hibbing, MN

Genre: Jazz

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

Connie Evingson is one of a choice group of jazz performers who have successfully made the Twin Cities their home base. Others include guitar player Joan Griffith; ace piano player Sanford Moore; and saxophone, clarinet and flute player Dave Karr. Although her first professional gig didn't come along until 1980, Evingson had been performing before the public since she was five when she was in her church and school choirs. Growing up in a household where music was played nonstop, she absorbed the...
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Let It Be Jazz - Connie Evingson Sings the Beatles, Connie Evingson
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