Jackie Ryan

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CD REVIEWS:

#5 nationwide on JazzWeek's industry-standard jazz chart!

**** 4 STARS (= Excellent!)
- Downbeat Magazine


"RYAN IS THE REAL DEAL
— A dash of Sarah and Billie, but all Jackie"

JAZZ SPOTLIGHT - *** 1/2 (Three and a half stars)

"The San Francisco-based singer is still far too little known, and it's hard to understand why. With guests saxophonist Ernie Watts and harmonica artist Toots Thielemans paralleling her sumptuous vocal lines, Ryan presents a 14-song program displaying the length and breadth of her skills. She sings "Estate" in the original Italian, soaring up from gorgeous low tones to sweeping high notes. Some of her readings -- "A Sleeping Bee" for one -- are reminiscent of the lush combinations of rich sound and melodic variation typical of Sarah Vaughan. Other tunes resonate with the sardonic qualities of Billie Holiday ("East of the Sun," for example). But she does all this without sacrificing any of her own engaging skills. Ryan is the real deal."

-- Don Heckman, The Los Angeles Times -
September 21, 2003


"I like everything about this multifarious, multilingual disc. I only wish it would go multiplatinum."

"Jackie Ryan is the Rita Hayworth of jazz, her natural sensuousness and bold inhibition as fiery as her luminous red locks. On "This Heart of Mine", the Irish- Mexican chanteuse's sublime follow-up to last year's "Passion Flower", Ryan delivers 14 tracks recorded at three different sessions, each showcasing a different piano - based trio (augmented by such special guests as TootsThielemans and Ernie Watts).... The results are consistently wonderful. I like the steam she adds to "East of the Sun" (who knew it could be so sultry?), the unbridled elation of a "Jump For Joy" that manages to rival Mark Murphy's. I like the way her " When I Grow Too Old To Dream" oozes with satisfied self-confidence, and I cheer her blistering blend of "Come Back To Me" and "Lover Come Back To Me".

-- Christopher Loudon, JazzTimes Review - December 2003

"..THIS HEART OF MINE SHOULD SIT HIGH ON THIS YEAR'S TOP TEN LIST."

"Listen to Jackie Ryan's voice and consider this: how important is it to you that vocal jazz come from the heart? Ryan's latest release proves that nothing works better on your soul than the real thing. With three teams of top-rate West Coast sidemen and welcome appearances from several key guests, Ryan's straight-ahead program settles in with a charm seldom seen in today's crowded singer's market. She's genuine."

- Jim Santella, AllAboutJazz.com
http://www.allaboutjazz.com


"Jackie's heart permeates the lyrics of every song on this suberbly produced, wonderfully musical release. Jackie's sultry voice, sensitive articulation, and impeccable intonation are absolutely sublime. SHE IS ONE OF THE GREATS."

-- Winthrop Bedford, JazzImprov Magazine, January 2004


"JACKIE RYAN HAS A FULL-BODIED VOICE AND SHE INTOXICATES WITH A COMBINATION OF POWER AND PERFUME."

"She can be cute without cloying, sassy without being smug, she can swing but handles ballads with an assured delicacy and depth. Jackie is the real thing, an artist to delight in today and to follow in the future... This Heart of Mine is sixty seven minutes of glorious music."

-- Roger Crane All AboutJazz.com - January 2004
For full review: http://www.allaboutjazz.com


"If we ever stop playing This Heart Of Mine our listeners will come picket the station!"

-- Bob Perkins, WRTI Philadelphia

"'This Heart of Mine' is still simply one of the best vocal jazz records in recent memory"

-- Matthias Kirsch
Head of Music for JazzRadio 101.9 in Berlin.
Continental Europe's only 24/7 Mainstream jazz station.
Winner of Best Jazz Format for the third time in a row at the NY International Radio Programming Awards.

There are various things I want in a jazz singer. Pitch is number one followed closely by the ability to breathe some fresh air into what is often a well worked repertoire. If you can add the ability to swing into this mix you're onto a winner. For the big prize though I want to feel that all the above traits are coming from within the artist, not something that they've overlayed their natural inclinations and talents with. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Jackie Ryan.

This one snuck up on me actually. I got it some months ago and I was playing it quietly in the background and thinking, yeah, this is okay. (I think actually the less than exciting cover had led me astray, somehow lowering my expectations.) Then by chance I tuned in for the first phrase of Make It Last, the lyrics of which are nothing special in and of themself, "Hold me close while we kiss". However after hearing Ms Ryan weave her voice around the notes I was utterly and totally sold. Here was a supple, rich, warm, womanly voice that simply exuded jazz. The best I can come up with for a "sounds like" comparison is one that's mentioned in the liner notes - a cross between Betty Carter and Sarah Vaughan. I know that's a big call but listen to this album and I think you'll agree.

I've since devoured this album many times, always marvelling at how she bends notes, how she takes a song like East Of The Sun and makes it like no other version I've ever heard. She's able to belt out Ellington's Jump For Joy in true gospel form or to wind it right back and gently ease her way through Sari which gives the album a wide range of songs and moods. Three backing bands are used, one from Holland, her regular Los Angeles group and her regular San Francisco group. All are very good with the pianist Jon Mayer really shining out for me. To fill it out somewhat Ernie Watts and Toots Thielemans make quite notable guest appearances.

What can I say? There are a lot of people out there singing jazz or jazz influenced music but there aren't that many real jazz singers. Jackie Ryan is certainly part of that very small latter group.

Craig Fenemor
http://www.audioenz.co.nz/2004/music/october.shtml
JACKIE RYAN "This Heart of Mine."
with special guests Toots Thielemans and Ernie Watts
(Open Art Records OA-07282)
Street Release Date: September 23, 2003

HIGHLIGHTS

Her last CD, Passion Flower, made the Top 20 on Jazz Week's nationwide industry-standard jazz chart, received a 4 star rating by AllMusicGuide, and was named "one of the best vocal albums of the year!" by AlllAboutJazz. Jackie Ryan's newest release - featuring the legendary Toots Thielemans on harmonica and the two-time GRAMMY Award winning Ernie Watts on saxophone - delivers a smashing breakthrough follow-up."

"From bolero to ballads, samba to swing, gospel to jazz standards to original compositions, this CD has it all - reflecting the full spectrum of what jazz singing means today. It shows an incredibly versatile vocalist and gifted lyricist in a class all her own.

Jackie's rich, appealing alto voice has brought her increasing international acclaim. She has recorded for the prestigious label of London's famed Ronnie Scott's Club (where she has performed regularly for the past 5 years and is, as jazz critic Jack Massarik of London's Evening Standard put it, "one of the best singers to sing at Ronnie's since Shirley Horn"). She has also recorded with jazz greats Buddy DeFranco, Terry Gibbs and the legendary trumpet-master Clark Terry (with whom she performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival).

Jackie's Mexican-Irish heritage lends an authentic treatment and deep intimacy to the Latin selections included here. And as a lyricist, she has a keen ear for phrasing and internal rhymes, writing and recording vocalese lyrics to Joe Henderson's driving sax solo on "The Kicker", poignant lyrics to Barry Harris's "Deep Love", as well as the hauntingly poetic lines found on this CD's "Seasons of The Heart"

Song List (Click on title for audio clip in MP3 format):
  1. This Heart Of Mine
  2. Sleepin' Bee
  3. Estate (Summer) w/Toots Thielmans
  4. East Of The Sun
  5. Jump For Joy
  6. Make It Last
  7. Anos Dourados (Golden Years)
  8. Maybe September
  9. When I Grow Too Old To Dream
  10. Moon and Sand
  11. Come Back To Me/Lover Come Back To Me
  12. Sari (Trieste)
  13. Velas Içadas (Sails)
  14. Seasons of the Heart

Personnel*
Jackie Ryan (Vocals)
** AMINA FIGAROVA, JON MAYER, LEONARD THOMPSON (Piano)
RUTH DAVIES, DAREK OLES, JOHN WIITALA (Bass)
OMAR CLAY, JASON LEWIS, ROY McCURDY (Drums)
STEVE ERQUIAGA, BARRY ZWEIG (Guitar)
BART PLATEAU (Flute)
YUTAKA YOKOKURA (Strings)
ALLEN SMITH (Trumpet)
ERNIE WATTS (Saxophone)
** TOOTS THIELEMANS (Harmonica)
** Amina Figarova appears courtesy of Munich Records
** Toots Thielemans appears courtesy of Uncle Jazz Productions

* The musicians featured here have their own CDs and/or are featured on other CDs. Please look up their websites or names and please do support their music.


"THE RIGHT RECORD AT THE RIGHT TIME!"

"With La Krall deciding to be a pop star and abandon the adult jazz/pop she plowed the contemporary trough for, Ryan has got the right record at the right time. This is her most interesting work yet. Fully assured and in fine voice, this is the adult jazz/pop date that fans of the style are going to be looking for. A tasty, well conceived jazz date that always hits the right notes and the high notes, this is the new belle of the ball at her coming out party. Hot stuff."

—MIDWEST RECORD RECAP
The voice of the entertainment retailer and broadcaster
August 7, 2003


"...SHE'S AN HONEST TO GOD JAZZ SINGER IN THE SARAH VAUGHAN/BETTY CARTER MODE..."

"On the surface, this seems to be just another excellent jazz vocal recording by a popular San Francisco-based singer whose best known longtime gig is London's Ronnie Scott's Club Yet the exotica of Ryan and the music she chooses is so much a part of the story, from her sultry Italian on "Estate" to her crafty Portuguese on Jobim's joyful samba "Anos Dourados." Her bio makes multiple mentions of her multi-ethnic background-Mexican, Irish and French-perhaps to justify her ability to tackle the foreign tunes. Yet at heart, she's an honest to God jazz singer in the Sarah Vaughn/Betty Carter mode who seems coziest on lush ballads like the title track, fun swingers like "Sleepin' Bee" and Ellington's "Jump For Joy," which starts as a sparse, stylish duet with voice and John Wiitala's bass before incorporating Allen Smith's playful muted trumpet.. Although her name is still not on the lips of mainstream jazz fans, Ryan's association here with legends like Toots Thielemans (who adds harmonica romance to tunes like "Estate") and Ernie Watts (whose inimitable tenor infuses three tunes), along with her diverse talents, will help expose her to a well-deserved wider audience."

-- Jonathan Widran, AllMusicGuide.com




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