Title - 'I Wish I Knew'
Artist - Susie Meissner
For those not in the know, a major jazz and swing singer, Susie Meissner always seems to have a smile in her voice.
In addition to her very appealing tone and impeccable musicianship, the enthusiasm that she displays when she performs is infectious.
She always swings and is an excellent improviser yet the lyrics that she interprets are especially important to her. “When I perform a song,” says Susie, “I want to express the emotions of the words, so the listener is experiencing the lyrics the way that the writer intended. I’m never casual about the lyrics.”
Her skill at reviving and revitalizing classic songs is very much in evidence throughout her recordings.
Susie’s fourth CD, I Wish I Knew (out July 17th, 2020, via Lydian Jazz Records) is the singer’s second release featuring a stellar group of Philly-based musicians: trumpeter John Swana, saxophonist Larry McKenna, bassist Lee Smith and drummer Byron Landham.
In addition, Meissner invited some longtime collaborators from outside Philadelphia: pianist/arranger John Shaddy, guitarist Paul Meyers and master clarinetist Ken Peplowski.
1. 'The Great City'
2. 'I Wish I Knew'
3. 'It Could Happen to You'
4. 'I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face'
7. 'Hello Young Lovers'
8. 'The Shadow of Your Smile'
9. 'Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye'
10. 'In a Mellow Time'
11. 'You Go to My Head'
12. 'The Party's Over'
Opening with the robust, yet refined swing of 'This Great City,' itself an homage to New York by Curtis Lewis, for my money the album just gets better and better throughout its wondrous collection of 12 new recordings.
Obviously comfortable at any tempo, next up is the dulcet piano lullaby title track, complete with saxophone from McKenna, 'I Wish I Knew,' which is backed seamlessly by the calmly collected 'It Could Happen to You' (Jimmy Van Heusen with lyrics by Johnny Burke), the beautiful cut from the 1956 musical My Fair Lady, 'I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face,' and both the gentle hipsway of 'Pionciana' (Nat Simon with lyrics by Buddy Bernier), and a stunning seven minute rendition of the stirring Burt Bacharach and Hal David track 'Alfie.'
From the 1951 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The King and I, we then get a simply magnificent 'Hello Young Lovers,' 'The Shadow of Your Smile' (better known as the Love Theme from The Sandpiper), before another stand out cut, the timeless Cole Porter ballad 'Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye' (which, once again, features McKenna on saxophone).
This quite purposely heartfelt, and emotively passionate album then rounds out with the Duke Ellington-composed 'In a Mellow Time,' the J. Fred Coots with lyrics by Haven Gillespie musical wonderment of 'You Go to My Head,' before finally coming to a triumphant close, and one highlighted by an enthralling bass solo by Smith, on 'The Party's Over' (first introduced in the 1956 musical comedy Bells Are Ringing by Judy Holliday).
Susie Meissner @ Spotify
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Susie Meissner @ YouTube