My first exposure to the Sony and Jerry Holland sound was a chance encounter in the cavernous lounge of the JW Marriott last week (1/7/14) in San Francisco. I heard her clear and soothing voice waif up to the 21st floor balcony and was hooked prompting me to buy Sanssouci and listen to their jazzy renditions of the great standard songs and their originals in a more intimate setting. Sony's vocal control is amazing. Her extraordinary voice takes you on a journey to every nook and cranny of these wonderful songs staying just long enough for you to want more. The jazz guitar scaffolding of her accompanist permits her vocals to joyfully soar, dive, twist and turn without wire, making clear to all who will listen just how talented they are.
As I went through the 13 songs on Sanssouci (thank you Rufus Wainwright) I first enjoyed their covers of the standards, familiar ground freshened up with their own jazzy interpretation. Then I played, played and replayed the five originals with a growing appreciation for Jerry's songwriting talent. Curiosity has masterful wordplay and gives form and substance to the anticipation of new love and it's underlying driver, lust. Little Tune is the cleverest song on the album, a delightful distant cousin to This Little Light of Mine. When I Find You has an opening set of lyrics that grabs and does not let go: "How could I have known you were a wounded dove?" reminding us of the venerable underside of all in love. Your Always With Somebody New could have been an undiscovered standard-in-waiting from the Sammy Cahn songbook.
I'm not sure if it was intentional or not but I think they left the best original on the album for last. Too Many Beautiful Girls is disarmingly melodic delivering a melancholy that grows with each listen. The imagery of dancing the blues alone in an empty room and wayward angel delivered with Sony's silky vocals may cause a misty-eyed awkward moment if listening in a public setting.
My five star rating is in recognition of a delightful set of songs performed hand-in-glove by an extraordinarily talented bright allegro and her equally talented col adagio, a joy-in-waiting if you choose to give it a listen.