I found this album completely by accident when I was looking up various renditions of Miami Beach Rhumba for a rehearsal. The track was actually on Youtube and piqued my interest enough to spring for the entire album. What a serendipity because I discovered what our friends Down Under already knew - Seidel is an amazing vocalist and pianist, and this album is a treasure trove of beautifully arranged music.
Sadly there are no sound samples on this page at the time of this review. There is also no track listing, but I can rectify that. The following fourteen tracks come in at a few minutes under an hour:
02 If They Asked Me I Could Write a Book
04 Midnight Sun
05 Miami Beach Rhumba
06 Canadian Sunset
07 Whatever Lola Wants
08 Lullaby of Birdland
09 Cow Cow Boogie
10 Trolley Song
11 Cry Me a River
12 The Breeze and I
13 Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Note that all of the arrangements on this album feature strings backing an exceptional jazz ensemble. Seidel is on piano as well as vocals, but most of the tracks feature pianist Kevin Hunt, with Chuck Morgan on guitar, Ben Jones on saxophone, brother David Seidel on bass, Adam Pache on drums and Fabian Hevia on other percussion.
Seidel's voice resembles Doris Day to my ears. She is certainly not a Doris Day clone, but the similarities are there. For me that is part of this album's (and Seidel's) appeal because I have always contended that Day was an underrated vocalist. But comparisons aside, the music on this album is simply superb and if you drop the strings the arrangements are still excellent. Actually, I am on the fence about the stings. As a jazz musician I eschew them on principle, but have to admit that they add a certain lushness to this album and they do make it perfect for easy listening.
If you know who Seidel is then you probably know about this album since it was released in 2003. If, like me, you are just discovering her, this is an excellent collection of her work.
The Art of Lounge Vol.3