Review – “Holly” by Holly Cole

April 24, 2019

Singer Holly Cole is back with a new release for 2019. It is called Holly, and it borrows from the Great American Songbook.

What the heck is the Great American Songbook anyway? That term is always out there, but some really do not know what the term is referring to. I am sure you have heard of songs that are classified as American Standards. These are songs that are important American works of art that are really based in Jazz from the 20th century.

Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Dinah Washington, and Dean Martin are artists that fit this genre. Quite frankly, if these artists are singing the songs, you know that they are standards.

The songs are timeless, and Cole will release a set of Standards on May 26th, and if you like this genre, then you will be pleasantly surprised with the quality of the work.

Review – “Holly” by Holly Cole

Review - "Holly" by Holly Cole

The project kicks off with I’m Beginning to See the Light. Popularized by Ella Fitzgerald, Cole does a great job of keeping the spirit of the song. Her laid back understated approach is just what the song calls for. The trombone really stands out here, because you really do not hear that horn anymore in today’s music.

Up next is Your Mind Is On Vacation. This is a song by Mose Allison, and it has a nice funky groove. I am loving the keyboard play here, and the track has the feel of the type of song that you would hear live at Woodstock.

I Was Doing Alright is another Ella Fitzgerald classic, and Diana Krall put her spin on it in 2006. Wycliffe Gordon is featured both vocally and also with the trombone. Vocally, Gordon and Cole have a really nice chemistry and you can hear that in the song.

It Could Happen to You has been recorded  by countless artists. Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole are just two of the big names that made it their own. Cole adds her name to the impressive list. This is a no-nonsense song, with just the piano and the vocal. It does not disappoint, as this version stands up to the other versions that have been recorded.

Ain’t That a Kick in the Head, made popular by Dean Martin, is up next. In addition to the flawless vocals, the bass really drives this song. Cole’s version of this song is a breath of fresh air.

Next, Cole tackles Dinah Washington‘s classic, Teach Me Tonight. Personally I love Al Jarreau‘s version, but Cole does a great job in keeping the Standard feel to the song. The organ really stands out here, and this is another sound that you do not hear in music that is recorded today. Overall, this is one of the strongest songs in the set.

We’ve Got a World That Swings is next, and this is a Mel Torme classic. This is one of those cool, swinging songs, and Cole holds her own with the track.

Do you want another Ella Fitzgerald classic? Then you will want They Can’t Take That Away From Me. Actually several artists recorded this song. This is classic lounge-style vocal jazz. This vocal performance could be the highlight of the project.

Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime is up next, and this is another track that Dean Martin made famous. This track is also stripped down with just piano and bass. This highlights her smooth, smoky vocals.

If you just want a crazy cool track, then I Could Write a Book will interest you. This is another duet with Wycliffe Gordon adding his vocals to the mix. Frank Sinatra made this one popular, and I love the trombone feature in the song. This is ensemble jazz at its finest.

The set concludes with Lazy Afternoon. Cole flexes her vocal skills here, and as the title states, this is a perfect song to listen to while you are laying by the pool with your favorite cold beverage.

The Great American Songbook has some great songs, and Holly Cole has selected the right material for this project. Check out the album and let us know what you think.

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