Sample Reviews



Jeanie Brandes: Kisses You Awake

— by Bob Brown

I’m a sucker for the Great American Songbook. I dig most standards…unless I find the treatment sub-standard. Example: Diana Krall? Yes. Rod Stewart? Pass. (Conversely, I don’t particularly want to hear Diana Krall sing “Maggie Mae.”)But Kisses You Awake is the real deal. Backed by stellar piano, bass, and drums (plus winds on several numbers), torch singer extraordinaire Jeanie Brandes (a familiar face to jazz and cabaret clubgoers coast to coast) makes each of these well-known songs all her own.There’s not a clinker in the bunch. Do we need yet another version of “Moon River”? Absolutely. There’s always room for yet another fresh take on Beethoven’s “9th Symphony” too. “The Party’s Over”? Ditto. You’ve heard the songs, but not these versions. You’ll be glad when you do.

I especially like Rodgers and Hart’s “Where or When”; Brandes’ lilt and Doug Webb’s sax lift this tune to new heights of lushness and loveliness. Truly stunning. I also get a thrill out of “Here’s That Rainy Day,” where Brandes makes you feel in your bones that love has indeed become a cold, rainy day. Special mention to Shelly Markham for superb, supportive piano. And think you’ve heard Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” every which way imaginable? Brandes puts her twist on it with a playful, thoroughly delightful arrangement. All 11 cuts on this fine CD showcase Brandes and band breathing yet more new life into favorite songs built to last. This sets a new standard for standards.