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Turn My Heart

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Album Review

For her maiden album, Nashville-based Connye Florance not only has selected a mixture of standards, original songs, and pop tunes, but treats the listener to a variety of interpretative styles as well. This mixed-bag approach seems to be the style of choice for other contemporary singers like Carri Coltrane, Kris Adams, and Sunny Sumper. Diversity apparently was also the name of the game when it came to selecting the musicians to be with Florance for this session. Drummer Bob Mater has a country background, Charlie Chadwick on bass does new age, and during his long career, percussionist Tom Roady has performed with members from a myriad of segments of the vocal community, such as Percy Sledge, Marie Osmond, Wayne Newton, and Bella Fleck. Along with piano player Kevin Madill, this group appears on all tracks on the album. They are joined on selected tracks by either saxophonists Roger "Rock" Williams (who also doubles on flute) or Doug Moffet, trombone player Barry Green, or Rod McGaha on trumpet. All fit in comfortably with whatever interpretative style Florance has chosen to use as she moves through the play list. Her own "Dance with Me" is done with a Brazilian beat in a smooth jazz wrapper. "The Awakened Heart" is pure contemporary pop while "Who Will Buy" is mainstream jazz, kicked off with an amusing interplay between McGaha's trumpet and Florance's cute singing, with Mater's snare driving them. Standards also are given different treatments by Florance and the group. "Love Walked In" is a swinger with a post-boppish sax solo from "Rock" Williams, which seems out of place. "More," the theme from the film Mondo Cane, gets a straightforward jazz treatment from Florance, with a beguiling trumpet solo from Rod McGaha, who is a pleasant surprise. Although he has a country music background with some recent excursions into modern jazz, his melodic trumpet playing for this session is rooted in the Louis Armstrong school of horn blowing, rather than of Miles Davis or another modern trumpeter. While "For All We Know" is a six-minute expedition into standard jazz country, "It Could Happen to You" is subjected to that Latin rock beat, which seems to be a favorite of singers these days, but doesn't go well with classic the Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Burke tune.

In sum, there's something for everybody here. Florance is a good singer with an attractive voice. She is also willing to take risks as she steers the music down many highly contrasting roads. This is a good first album.


Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Connye Florance was the youngest of five children in a North Carolina family where music was very important. She was exposed to jazz through her father, who was a professional pianist, and to gospel by her mother and siblings. After graduating from North Carolina University at Greensboro, Florance spent several years doing musicals and cabaret before moving to Nashville in 1986 where four years later she put together her first band. Since then, Florance's career has encompassed virtually every facet...
Full Bio
Turn My Heart, Connye Florance
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